Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Addressing Some Comments

     Hi, all! Dachshund Mommy here. Yup, Nola let me post something that's not about my photo challenges or photography. Shocking, I know. ;)

     I'm doing this post because I've received a couple comments this month that I'd like to address. While neither are from frequent followers, I felt it'd be good to lay it all out. You know, just be frank with y'all so there's no further misunderstanding. :)

     The first comment doesn't bother me as much as the second, and it's more semantics than anything else.  It was posted early this month on the Training Goals for February post. The comment said:

"Good luck Nola and to your mom! were very excited for your training! always remember be submissive to your mom and she knows best for you Nola! :D"

     The issue I have is with the word "submissive". Like I said, it's really just semantics, but the words we use have a huge impact on the way they're received.

     If you've been following our adventures for a while, you'll know that I am very much for Positive Reinforcement/Clicker Training, dog friendly training and interaction and  not using intimidation and force, and that I am very anti Alpha, Top Dog, Pack Theory, ect.
My reason for that is because Pack/Alpha/Dominance Theory has been debunked by modern science, and the person who originally coined the term Pack Theory has come out and said that dogs do not form packs, and therefore do not need you to be "top dog". Read more about that in this article: Association of Pet Dog Trainers: Dominance and Dog Training. Also feel free to check out my training page, Training the Untrainable: Our Life of Positive Reinforcement, for more of my thoughts and ramblings on PR training.

If you don't have the time to read through the training page (and I don't blame you; there's a lot on there), this is the gist of my feelings on how I train my dog:

  • I don't need nor desire a dog who is submissive. That personality has no room in my life. I consider myself an assertive person, and I want a dog like me, as conceited as it sounds. That's one of my favorite things about Nola; the fact that she's bossy, assertive and basically myself in dog form.
  • I don't like being harsh with Nola, and PR gives me the chance to train and interact with my dog in a positive, gentle way. 
  • I want my dog to do things for me because she wants to, not out of fear of what will happen if she doesn't comply.

My PR trained, CGC Nola, preforming the "touch" cue on her clicker. 

     The second comment actually pissed me off quite a bit at first, and I wrote a whole draft post ranting and swearing before I cooled off and decided to sit down and write this post instead (thank you, level headed Mom), to address what was said in a honest, adult way.

     The comment was on yesterday's post (Dachshund Nola Reviews: ToughHound Collar), and it said:

"Dachshund should be wearing harnesses....not collars....tugging with leashes can cause serious neck & back issues in dachshunds.
We only wear Martingale collars when we are travelling, cause it has our rabies tags, address, etc. (we are microchipped too).

Vest Harness are the safest harnesses."

      Call me hypersensitive, but I really don't like someone implying the notion that I don't know how to take care of my dogs. In fact, it drives me up the wall. :) So, to make this short and to the point, here we go:

     All four of my dogs wear harness for walking and when we travel. They are never walked on collars for the specific reason that they're a breed that can be down right harmed if they're walked on a collar (other breeds include Pugs, Bulldogs, ect), and because one of my favorite trainers (Emily Larlham, more commonly known on YouTube as Kikopup) suggests that walking a dog on a collar can increase behavior problems, not to mention collars are know causes of issues such as:

  • Neck injuries
  • Eye issues
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Malfunction of the nervous system in the forelimbs
  • Behavioral issues  
Here's an article on it: Dogmantics Dog Training Blog: Is It Harmful to Attach a Leash to Your Dog's Neck?

     "Vest Harness are the safest harnesses." That may be true, but since Nola can slip any harness that isn't the original Puppia, and the fact that we live in Florida where the temperatures frequently hover between 100-105 degrees in the summer, vest harnesses would do way more harm than good.

     Also, since I seem to be completely incapable of being totally mature, I just have to say that Nola, Augustine, Boston and Phoenix are my dogs, and I will do whatever I damn well please with them. ;) I don't tell you what to do or not do with your dogs, so please extend the same courtesy and refrain from telling me what I "should" do with my dogs.

Dachshund Mommy


  1. Well said Dachshund Mommy! We know that you would NEVER do anything to hurt your family.

    Lily Belle

  2. Frankie and Ernie's MOM here...
    I will say that as a LONG TIME follower of Nola and her minions... you have ALWAYS stressed that you only use Positive Reinforcement with your babies. And that I have seen sweet Nola in that lovely (well ventilated) harness Many many times.
    I guess these folks just do NOT know you well, or they would KNOW that you always put your fur babies FIRST.
    Perhaps they just didn't word their comments very well. That happens sometimes.

  3. Sorry some comments upset you. They are from readers who dont know you.

    If you ever come across a Buddy Belt while out shopping. Try one on Nola. They are the harnesses that I use one my dogs and were made especially for dachshunds. http://buddy-belts.com/ . Ruby & Penny cant slip out of them.

    I love them. http://agenuineruby.blogspot.ca/2008/11/my-buddy-belt.html

    Ruby & Pennys mom

  4. I totally agree with your last statement. At the end of the day, these are my dogs, and I can train them and treat them how I want to. People telling me what I HAD to do with my dogs is one of the major reasons I switched flyball teams- suggestions are all well and good, and I am happy to get tips in training, but I reserve the right to decide what methods we will use.

    And the submissive thing pisses me off too. I won't follow or read blogs that use terms like pack leader, because I know they will inevitably upset me, and I'll have to restrain myself from making nasty comments.

    A number of the blogs I read have posted lately about negative comments left on their blogs, either people complaining about posting material, or just being nasty. Seriously, at the end of the day, these are our blogs. I LOVE getting comments from most people, but if I don't like a comment, you bet I'll go back and delete it later. Veto power!

  5. That was good to address the comments. Yes, in the end, they are your dogs and you will do what you think is best. You're smart like that. LOL!!

  6. Well said Nola Mom,
    We totally agree and I have read about your positive training which is great. They are your dogs and you do as you see fit. Comments like that would make me mad too so we are right there with ya!!

    Diana, Jazzi's mom

  7. Your last sentence pretty much sums it all up! :)

  8. From the mom - totally agree with you - especially the last statement. I don't see anyone else stepping up to the plate to help me pay for the Beaglebratz care or help with training. Like Nola, both Shiloh'n Diva Shasta have their CGC's and are therapy dogs (which by the way - bet Nola would be great at) as well as Shiloh is a READ dog (Ok - stop the bragging). Like you, I don't want a submissive dog - that would very soon become boring. Shiloh is my first Beagle - I had raised mixed breed puppies before but when I want to purebred - a Beagle was my choice - people say Beagles are dumb, can't learn and stubborn and bull-headed - those last two qualities describe me growing up which is why we probably get along so well. We respect each other - we understand each other. Diva Shasta is right there with us.

    We have been in a few training classes but some of what they say goes in one ear and out the other without stopping in the middle. I use a harness that leads from the front - a trainer suggestes I try it because it works great for dogs that pull and it does. I also use it for the same reason you use it - Beagles can have back and neck problems. Anything I can do to alleviate that - I will do.
    I'm not done yet but gotta get bak to work.
    Mom Kim

  9. First of I agree with you 100% about a submissive dog, ugh I hate the word. I may not be a total whiz at dog training, nor is my husband, but I now enough to now that positive reinforcement is what works! I want my dogs to be with me, not for me, if that makes sense. As for the second comment I agree, we no best for our dogs. A little advice is fine because we can all learn from eachother but it needs to be in the right place, and that comment is just plain rude. We are all caring dog owners and we dont need to do things exactly the same. The one size fits all dog lovers who have a bunch of absolutes, and there are plenty of them, really get under my skin.

    urban hounds

  10. I suppose that when we write and publish our blogs we do leave ourselves open to comments such as the ones you received but certainly no one has the right to tell you what you should be doing with YOUR dogs...Clearly your dogs are loved and cared for and your responses to these two self-proclaimed experts are both well said and appropriate

  11. Good for you! Too many people need to be 'in charge' of their dogs. If they don't want a dog for a companion why bother.
    Chihuahuas are also one of those breeds that need a harness for their trachea. It makes me wince when I see someone dragging a chihuahua along with a collar - usually said chihuahua is coughing and choking. Awful.
    Lynne x

  12. Hi. I'm new here but I would have to agree with everyone else's comments. You seem like a very caring dog mom and no one should come and tell you what you what or how to raise your dogs.

  13. I agree with you pretty much too, I know what's best for my dog yet people will say you shouldn't use that etc. What I would like to comment on is what you said about being submissive. Dolly is naturally submissive not something I made her into. When she approaches any dog she naturally rolls over to be sniffed, all dogs love her too. I think it is her best quality, she doesn't really "submit" to me when she does what she is told to do, which is less often than she doesn't. Hope this makes sense. Dolly's mom Sandra

  14. Agreed! I shared some of your links on my Facebook page. Great reads! I recently had a someone downright attack me online for photos I took of my dogs. She presumed to know what exact type of camera I used and said I was blinding my dogs. She went on lock down.

  15. Some people just feel that they've been given the job of telling everyone else what to do.

    Anyone who takes the time to blog about their animals....loves them. And yes, we do things differently and may not agree on things but, animals with blogs are the lucky ones in a world that is cruel to animals at times.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & roxy

  16. "dominance" and "submission" are two of those words. I remember the days when I didn't know better, and I'm glad that I'm far more educated now.

    I don't think I even thought about what a vest harness was until I read this post and looked them up.

  17. Woof! Woof! Totally understand why your mom is upset with those comments. Great way of addressing it ... hope the 2 commentators will read it well. We've been a victim too in a different manner. We are thinking to address it and/or share in a blog post soon. Woof! Woof! to Nola. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  18. Well said, thank you! And, Bentley can slip a harness quick as a wink if he is spooked. I had no idea he could do it, but he did. I've learned to slack the lead if he gets spooked and starts to twist! I agree 100% with your training methods, too!

  19. We like the positive reinforcement training and need to read more about it even though mom knows some stuff. We got a comment once that said dogs shouldn't wear clothes so stop. Oye!
    Benny & Lily

  20. Our Lady uses all reinforcement. Being the dogs of a behaviour analyst has perks:) She also understands that sometimes people's comments suggest you don't know how to care for a dog . . . .we think any dog who has a blog is a very, very lucky, well cared for dog! Lee and Phod

  21. ;-) Ok...we love love love your answers to those comments!! Good for you on both accounts! I know we choose to put our pup lives out there on the internet, but it doesn't mean that people have the right to tell us what to do or how wrong we are for doing it! Keep up the great work Dachshund Mom!!! :-D

  22. Hi NOLA and Mom!
    I'm going to first state that I love your positive training with NOLA...I believe in it highly, too...just don't get around to doing it as much as you do with your baby, NOLA. I'm going to say that the people leaving the comments meant to be kind and helpful...I don't think they meant to piss you off. :) But...we all need to remember triggers are different for different people. I get P.O.'d when people call my babies ugly (those are the extremely ugly people) or when they call George a "big boy" (duh...I know he is big and he probably needs to lose weight and I am working on it with him."
    Much Love,
    Mama Mindy :)

  23. That was well said Nola and Mommy. I have always thought of you and your Mommy as being so loving and your Mommy knows how smart you are and how impawtent it is to help you to keep growing and learning things. Sometimes peeps say things the wrong way, unlike us doggies who always mean what we say. BOL BOL BOL.

    Loveys Sasha

  24. Howdy Nola's mum. although we don't visit often we always get the impression that your dogs are loved and cared for and as you say, they are your dogs and part of your family and that's that. A wise man once said, "An opinion is neither right or wrong, it's just that person's opinion" (if that makes sense) and I have found this calms me down when someone says something I don't agree with. Take care everyone. No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

  25. From the mom again - finally made it back. Yep, that positive reinforcement is all I ever use. I need to find a clicker like you have - all I have ever tried were the small ones and I had trouble getting my eye-hand coordination to work rite - maybe with the larger and easier to use clicker I could do it. This is where Diva Shasta would probably be more successful altho she does quite well. Diva Shasta would probably be the one I would say is more eager to please and do what gets a "good job" from mom.

    And about those rude comments and the "know-it-alls" - I have not had rude comments on the blog - if I did I would likely delete them. However the know-it-alls - I've had one try her best to convince me that Diva Shasta was part Basset - I mean even if I had Shasta's papers with me - there was no way I was going to convince the know-it-all that Diva Shasta was all Beagle. Another one- when I had Shiloh at Petsmart one time - his harness on - she flat out said I had his harness on wrong. It wasn't a question - she wasn't wondering if it was on right - she just stated "You have that harness on wrong" - excuse me, maybe You NEED your eyes checked - I had purchased the harness from the trainer who suggested it and he also showed me how to fit it on Shiloh. And by the way, did I in any way solicit any comment, rude or otherwise, from you? (By the way, these last few lines were not aimed at you - but rather I am rehearsing what I will say to the next snooty, know-it-all) Gee, do you think that might just be a pet peeve of mine ?(no pun intended but it does fit). Ok - gotta calm down - I don't mind suggestions or someone saying something like "This is what works for me and my dog but all dogs are diffferent - what works for one may not for another." But don't come across like this is it and nothing is better - tell me that and I WILL find something better.

    Ok - bedtime - calm down. Good post - makes you think.
    Mom Kim

  26. well-spoken!
    i think there are some people who take the whole blogging thing WAAAAY too seriously. you keep posting what you want - it's what makes your blog (and ALL of our blogs for that matter) unique and therefore, what draws readers (like us!) in.

    btw - LOVE the new header pic!

    -docsdox, NewMama, & Ramsay-

  27. Well said! In the end they are your dogs and you have to be happy!

  28. I agree about the positive reinforcement issue training as being best- had not heard of it before reading how you train Nola and the Minions 3, but am trying to use it with Snoopy and it is helping him with his anxiety. Your dietary tips are alos being kept under advisement until Snoopy's food allergies are fuly diagnosed and the vet ok's me to cook for him. However, someone need to defend the other commenter- while I know her only through her own blog, she has always been a good dachshund mom and lost one of her dachsie pack in the last year or so. I do not know how often she reads other dachsie blogs, but it appears to me that she was offering constructive critcism based only on the photos in the blog post. She may not be aware that Nola wears the Puppia harness and was merely responding , with good intentions, to only the collar being displayed and expressed her concerns strictly based on that. She was merely raising a safety issue and re reading her actual comment, that is how it should be interpreted- she was expressing concerns about dachshund back issues and obviously did not realize that Nola and her crew wear harnesses when out and about.

    I have had nasty commenters and people who stop following me when I express my very conservative views on the DWB site, and that isn't my problem ,but theirs.

  29. Don't sit on the fence, say what you mean. ;D

  30. I agree with Gizmo that when we write and publish our blogs we do leave ourselves open to comments such as the ones you received - but who really enjoys it when someone else presumes to know what is better for your dogs. It really bugs me when people try to tell you how you should be raising your kids. I thought you handles it very well.

  31. Brilliantly put, and assertively written. Why is it that other people always think they know best?!I love your blog and Nola is a sweetie (very envious of all your other animals and eggs too).
    From a retired racing greyhound owner, Paris (France)

  32. My Archie has managed to "slip" out of his Puppia harness twice already... that said, there were ducks to be chased! ;-)

  33. LOL I should not be commenting on a two year old Blog Post but can't help myself.

    I much prefer harnesses over collars but the first thing I learned about using them was that my miniature dachshund was smart enough to learn how to escape from one. She waits until I am not looking and pulls backwards. I learned that if she is out of my sight on her leash and I feel some gentle tugs on the leash I'd best go see what she is up to.

    When she soon realized that I was aware of her new trick she invented the speedy escape. This one is done in plain sight. She runs to the end of the leash, pulls it tight against my hands, turns around to face me, jumps up on her front end and then pulls backward with her hind legs. This is all done when I am distracted.

    On the Alpha dog thing I never tried to do that with her but I fell into that role by accident. I caught two of our neighbor dogs fighting her. They were big dogs and they had her pinned to the ground biting her. I'm disabled but I yelled at those dogs and charged at them. They ran off. In typical dachshund fashion mine popped up and wanted to go kick their butts. Especially since I was with her. That evening when we were back inside our home I got lots of loving attention from her. She knew I'd helped her. I did not realize it at the time but from that day on she has seen me as the pack leader. She obeys me 90% of the time now as opposed to 50% before that incident.

    I'm not a big fan of the pack leader method. I prefer using as gentle a training method as possible especially with dachshunds. Dachshunds will meet force with force. With mine I have found that a short session of shaming her when she misbehaves works far better. By short session I mean that when I see I have gotten my point across I stop. By using this method I actually got her to stop chasing cars. Before this I thought it was impossible to break a dog from chasing vehicles.


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