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Greg Gibbs

Overall, this is an excellent article, which I can easily recommend. I don't like use of the term 'alpha' (and everything that goes along with it), but that's just one word out of many. Look at http://www.ccpdt.org/ or http://www.apdt.com/ to search for a trainer. - g^2

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and I was a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), and will be again, when resources permit.

Karalyn

Thanks, Greg. I know there are many reactions to that term. However, in my experience, so many problems are caused by a lack of understanding as to who is in control that I use it. This problem is especially common with Giant Schnauzers, who are oftem more intelligent than their owners and can be somewhat headstrong.

Thank for stopping by.

Greg Gibbs

First off, I reiterate that overall this is an excellent resource which I have no trouble recommending (which I did on Twitter). I'll also repeat the joke about the only thing that two dog trainers can agree on is that the third trainer is doing it wrong :-)

As my wife (and fellow dog trainer) likes to say, it's all about relationship and communication. If you develop a trusting and respectful relationship with another being (human, dog, etc.) and have good communication skills, life's a whole lot better. I'm sensitive about word choice, because it affects people's perceptions. I prefer cue to command, and relationship to control, for example. 'Alpha' and 'control' put people in the mindset of dominance, and dominance theory in relationship to dogs has long been discredited.

As I'm sure you know, adult dogs are roughly mentally and emotionally equivalent to a two year-old human; figure out how you'd get the child to do (or not do) something, and you're in a great place for getting the same behavior from a dog. Looked at from this perspective, don't the terms 'alpha' and 'control' seem inappropriate?

Humans are _automatically_ the leader because we've got the big brains and the thumbs and we control the resources, so dogs can't do anything without our implied consent. So it's usually not a problem with the dog, but with the humans.

I agree that Giant Schnauzers are a challenge, as are other breeds and specific individuals. Smart dogs are not easy dogs. My Akita/Pit was one of the smartest, motivated and tenacious dogs I've met so far, and he was definitely quite the challenge. My brother recently added a rescue GS to his family of four kids and two small dogs (before he had kids, he had Danes - he missed having a big dog around)). /digression

I guess I just want to push the idea of putting people in the mindset of eliciting cooperation from their canine companions, and that starts with using supportive terminology. - g^2

Karalyn

Very true, Greg. And I have never been in favor of the "alpha roll" that so many folks tout. To me that is just asking for trouble and truly disrespecting the dog.

Glad your brother added a Giant to his family. We're always looking for fun pictures to add to our website . . . if he's ever willing to share.

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