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Dario D.
01-21-2011, 11:17 AM
(see poll, above)
I often hear about (or see) these strange quirks that different dog breeds have. For instance, both Chihuahuas I've been around have had this frequent shivering problem (at least when strangers were around), and seemed to be afraid of just about everything (loud noises, doors, etc).

Speaking of which, can you guys point out some quirks that you see in certain dog breeds, whether strange behaviors, or physical defects? (not unlike how some Bulldog types can't give birth naturally, without surgery)

shaldna
01-21-2011, 02:45 PM
There are alot of 'quirks' that have been bred into some dogs, resulting in very bad things. There are documentaries about it and if you run a search you can find some horrible truths about dog breeding and the effects it has on the dog.

It's something I feel very strongly about and something that most people are uneducated about when they consider purchasing or breeding a dog.

For instance:

rhodesian ridgebacks - the ridge in thier back is a form of spina bifida, which can cause extreme pain to the dog over the course of it's life. the ridge is bred into them as the 'breed ideal' and dogs without it, the healthy dogs, are often put down at birth by breeders.

Pugs in the Uk are so inbred that it's the eqivelant of having less than 50 individuals in the gene pool. The cute curl in their tail is actually a spinal defect which results in thier spine becoming twisted. this compression of the spinal chord can result in incontinence and paralysis.

Newfoundlands are prone to heart valve defects such as subaortic stenosis

alsatians, german shepherds, standard poodles and labradors have massive problems with thier hips, such as hip dyslpasia and often need surgery in middle age.

Springer spaniels and cocker spaniels are prone to Sudden Onset Aggression or (SOA) which is a genetic problem where the animal will suddenly be agressive for no reason, and then immediately be calm and friendly, usually with no memory or realisation of what just happened.



Here's a list that you can find here: http://www.k9magazinefree.com/k9_perspective/iss5p10.shtml

Hip and elbow dysplasia, demodectic mange and non-descending testicles - the four most common defects that apply to a large number of breeds.

Cataracts - Afghan, beagle, Boston terrier, cocker spaniel, German shepherd, German short-haired pointer, golden retriever, Labrador retriever, standard poodle.

PRA(Progressive Retinal Atrophy) - Cocker spaniel, collie, golden retriever, Irish setter, Labrador retriever, miniature poodle.

Glaucoma - Basset hound, beagle, cocker spaniel, fox terrier.

Eye abnormalities - Malamute, basenji, beagle, cocker spaniel, collie, dachshund, German shepherd, German short-haired pointer, great Dane, Labrador retriever, miniature poodle, Pekingese, St Bernard, Shetland sheepdog, standard poodle.

Deafness - Collie, fox terrier, Scottish terrier.

Epilepsy - Beagle, collie, German shepherd, miniature poodle, standard poodle.

Nervous system defects - Airedale terrier, fox terrier, Irish setter, miniature poodle, Scottish terrier, weimaraner.

Hydrocephalus(water on the brain) - Chihuahua, cocker spaniel, English bulldog.

Kidney disease - Cocker spaniel, doberman, German shepherd.

Bladder stones - Dachshund, German shepherd, great Dane, Labrador retriever, miniature poodle, Scottish terrier, standard poodle.

Haemophilia - Malamute.

Heart valve defects - Chihuahua, English bulldog, great Dane.

Cardiovascular defects - Beagle, boxer, chihuahua, cocker spaniel, English bulldog, great Dane.

Collapsed trachea - Chihuahua, miniature poodle (and miniature breeds in general).

Obstructed breathing - Boston terrier, boxer, English bulldog, Pekingese, pug, and brachycephalic breeds.

Diabetes - Dachshund, miniature poodle.

Pituitary cysts - Boston terrier, boxer, English bulldog, Pekingese, and brachycephalic breeds.

Cleft lips and/or palate - Beagle, cocker spaniel, dachshund, English bulldog, German shepherd.

Excess or missing teeth - Boxer, English bulldog, fox terrier.

Spinal deformities - Basset hound, beagle, Boston terrier, chihuahua, cocker spaniel, dachshund, doberman, English bulldog, great Dane, miniature poodle, Pekingese, miniature breeds.

Limbs too short, jaw too long or short - Basset hound, dachshund, miniature poodle, Scottish terrier, cocker spaniel.

Tail short or missing - Beagle, cocker spaniel, English bulldog.

Shoulder dislocation - Chihuahua, fox terrier, miniature poodle.

Deformed knee joint - Boston terrier, chihuahua, miniature poodle.

Hernia - Airedale terrier, basenji, cocker spaniel, collie, German short-haired pointer, Pekingese, waimaraner.

Skin allergy - Beagle, fox terrier, miniature poodle, Scottish terrier, standard poodle.

Nasal sunburn - collie, Shetland sheepdog, bull terrier, and white breeds with pink skin.

Tumours - Boston terrier, boxer, English bulldog, Scottish terrier.

Behaviour abnormalities - Cocker spaniel, German shepherd, German short-haired pointer, miniature poodle, standard poodle.

lbender
01-21-2011, 08:54 PM
Veterinarian here. Very little to add. Shaldna's answer was very comprehensive.

Linda Adams
01-22-2011, 03:23 AM
I often hear about (or see) these strange quirks that different dog breeds have. For instance, both Chihuahuas I've been around have had this frequent shivering problem (at least when strangers were around), and seemed to be afraid of just about everything (loud noises, doors, etc).


The Chihuahua I had when I was growing up never had this problem. He was always felt like an old man--seen it all and just didn't care. Though when the other dogs started barking, he'd let them go first. We got him when he was an adult, and he was with us for 20 years.

Duchessmary
01-22-2011, 03:58 AM
Chihuahuas tend to shiver violently when they're nervous. Mine is like jello on springs when she goes to the vet.

backslashbaby
01-22-2011, 06:06 AM
Mine's only half Chi. The boy is fearless (and kinda stupid about it, frankly). Terrier, too.

Dario D.
01-22-2011, 06:24 AM
Thanks a lot for the helpful replies so far! (especially shaldna) :)

Stlight
01-22-2011, 09:18 AM
I understand that dalmatians are often deaf. I also understood that the deafness 'gene' would often come out when this breed is mixed with other breeds not prone to deafness.

For some reason many vets don't test for deafness, so people think their dogs are stubborn and ignoring them when they just can't hear them.

Kitty Pryde
01-22-2011, 10:21 AM
Most of the chihuahuas I encounter (in LA, global capital of poorly trained purse-sized dogs) have the opposite problem. They're bold and aggressive and annoyingly barky towards humans, and towards other dogs large enough to consider them a mere appetizer. Because they are so small, instead of being trained they just get picked up and moved out of trouble, and their crappy personality traits are considered cute instead of getting training to be nicer.

Dario D.
01-22-2011, 10:53 AM
Does anyone know if this aggression ever seems to be way to cope with fear? One of the fearful Chihuahuas I knew was very controlling with the other (much, much larger) dogs in the house.

Collectonian
01-22-2011, 11:16 AM
My Chihuahua/Rat Terrier mix will shiver when afraid, and she gets colder faster than the other dogs. When its really cold (20-30s), she will want to lay right in front of the heater or under a cover. I'll often put a sweater on her then just to keep her warm. I've also noticed that she has serious dental issues, not seen in any of my other dogs. She's had about a dozen teeth pulled in the last 6 years or so. She doesn't run from other animals, and she will bark at any one coming to the door (but backs away or hides behind me when they come in). To my amusement, she is afraid of the auto water thing I have for my pets. She will drink from it after creeping up on it, always ready to bolt. The water gurgles sometimes and that apparently scares her. She isn't afraid of storms, firecrackers, or most loud noises. The other two dogs will run over her (literally), and she will quickly put them in their place. She is alpha dog and knows it. When she was younger, she'd studiously avoid puddles when it was wet outside. Now that she's old (turns 14 next month), she doesn't care anymore.

For actual quirks, versus physical/health issues, my Aussie/Border mix is a lick-a-holic. She will happily like you for an hour on end if you let her. Both she and my cat also have an odd attraction to Icy Hot. My other Border isn't a big licker, but she does have a lot of trouble keeping herself still unless she's asleep. She is always moving a paw, a foot, etc. She also has serious OCD issues when it comes to anything that looks like a tennis ball (squeaking optional).

For physical issues, most medium-large to large breeds have issues with hip dysplasia. My Aussie/Border mix was born death because the backyard idiot breeder she came from had bred a blue merle Australian Shepherd with a blue merle Border Collie. She gave away the deaf ones, sold the others. My brother got one, then didn't want her when I pointed out she was deaf, so I took her. Sweetest most loving baby every :-)

Hope that helps

backslashbaby
01-22-2011, 12:57 PM
Does anyone know if this aggression ever seems to be way to cope with fear? One of the fearful Chihuahuas I knew was very controlling with the other (much, much larger) dogs in the house.

My Chi-Terrier eyeballs the larger dogs in such a way that I know he has noticed their size, yes. He doesn't shake or anything, but I can tell that he senses a possible scary problem. And that is exactly when he wants to storm them and play alpha right away. It works, actually, with my Chow-Heeler, but obviously he can't be doing that to strangers' big dogs!

He listens to me on it, so it's not really a problem, but it's clear what he wants to do when we're out.

shaldna
01-22-2011, 02:48 PM
Does anyone know if this aggression ever seems to be way to cope with fear? One of the fearful Chihuahuas I knew was very controlling with the other (much, much larger) dogs in the house.

From what I know about animal behaviour, and bear in mind that my speciality is in larger animals such as horses, aggression often stems from fear. It's a fight or flight reflex, and when cornered or threatened will often turn to aggression when flight isn't an option.

The problem is, when the animal finds out that this behaviour works, such as someone backing off, then it will repeat the process the next time it's in the same situation. And that's often where the problems start.

My parents had a labrador who was the sweetest dog ever most of the time, he was a rescue case, so we knew nothing about his history. However. when he was chastised for something he would at first back off, and then he would get aggressive as a form of self defence.

cuddlekins
01-22-2011, 03:04 PM
My Chihuahua used to shiver a lot when she was afraid. She died two years ago of old age. Anyway, she was especially terrified of children, (It's something I could never understand.) She was also afraid of car horns which was a rarity where I used to live before, thankfully. But bonfire night was a terrible day. I had to sit with her, my hands on her stomach to keep her from twitching too much when a cracker goes off. She also never like other big dogs. Though, I also have a huge, really massive English Mastiff (about 18 stone) and my chi was perfectly fine with him. She was actually more like his mother. He was 11 years younger and was smaller than her when we got him.

When I used to walk them outside together, she used to hide between his legs if there was any other big dog nearby.

And while on strange behavioural quirks, my Mastiff will not allow any stranger to talk to me unless nicely introduced to him first. He will bark, pull at his lead, stand between me and the stranger and will always be ready to pounce on them if they get any closer. It's strange because I've had him trained to be more social and have been taking him out to the park when he was a puppy, but he just doesn't allow strangers to talk to me. He is very cool and composed when we pass strangers anywhere, but should they try to talk to me; he will place himself between us, ready to defend me from God alone knows what.

lbender
01-22-2011, 07:44 PM
Many little dogs who come into our office bark and growl and threaten as long as we're 15 or 20 feet away. Then, when we get closer, they will frequently stop and act more submissive. The closest thing I can relate it to is the puffer or blowfish, a threat display to keep the big bad critter at a distance. When that fails, many fall back on other methods of survival. In these cases, a submissive display, as happens in many dog societies. On occasion, they'll urinate as an even more submissive display.

Elaine Margarett
01-22-2011, 08:45 PM
(see poll, above)
I often hear about (or see) these strange quirks that different dog breeds have. For instance, both Chihuahuas I've been around have had this frequent shivering problem (at least when strangers were around), and seemed to be afraid of just about everything (loud noises, doors, etc).

)


The chihuahuas I've met have been nice, normal dogs; but then their owners *treated* them like dogs and not like indulged and demented little fur babies.

Temperment problems in dogs are caused by people 99.9 percent of the time. Dogs are first and foremost, (dare I say it?) animals. To treat them otherwise is a shame and is demeaning to the wonderful essence of canines. People often use dogs as substitutes for what might be missing in their own lives, to the detriment of the dog. Many dogs overcome their owners' mishandling and good intentions gone awry, other dogs not so much.

Fearful behavior like shivering should be addressed, not ignored. Unfortunately that often doesn't happen and the dog leads a miserable life because of it. But hey, they look really, really cute dressed up, and lots of hugs and kisses solves everything...right? <g>

EM,
a long time dog trainer and behavorist

SLF
01-22-2011, 09:13 PM
My family has owned 3 chihuahua's and I spend several days a week at their breeders. What I've discovered is that chihuahua's being skittish has a LOT to do with how they were raised. I've been around all the breeder's dogs as well as several puppies that they "dogsat" for. There are exceptions, but I've found that the chi's that are raised like dogs, don't have the fear issues that chi's who are treated like baby dolls do. The dogs that walk on their own, walk on leashes and are treated the same way big dogs are (not allowed to get away with bad behavior) are awesome little dogs. The problems come when people carry them around all the time and the dog doesn't learn to be a dog. The dogs that are carried are usually the shakers I think because they've never learned to deal with things on their own. I've also noticed they're a lot more willing to actually bite. Chihuahua's in general are very yappy and think of themselves as guard dogs, but the ones I've been most cautious around for biting are almost always the pampered ones. The breeders dogs (who are rarely picked up and carried) may stand on the porch and bark at me or may "chase" me barking, but they also settle down quickly and are easy to be around. Some of the pups they've gotten back to petsit have been pampered and they'll bark and shake the entire time I'm there. They don't calm down, even if I'm there every day for weeks.

Collectonian
01-22-2011, 11:27 PM
Agreed on the pampered/child-substitute chihuahuas. My mom loves chihuahuas and last year got one from a breeder who never let her dogs even go outside unless carried. They used little litter box type things in the house. The puppy was a hideous, shivering, chicken. A word of correction and she pee'd in submission. After working with her for weeks to try to get her to be more of a dog, my mom finally gave her to a couple who wanted a chihuahua to carry around and dress up.

Mom's other chihuahuas (she currently has three), don't have the shivering issue, but mom treats them like dogs, not child-substitutes. Same with mine. The only time I pick her up and carry her is if I am taking her someplace and want to move fast (she's older and slower), am lifting her up somewhere she can't reach, or to get her away from kids (she hates them too...considering their size, I can't say as I blame them). She has a sweater but only for going outside on the coldest days because she shivers so bad.

cuddlekins
01-23-2011, 09:30 AM
Actually, I don't think the shivering issue with my chi had anything to do with her being treated like a child-substitute. She wasn't pampered either. Used to walk on a lead, hate being carried - she was rather fierce about this. If I ever picked her up so we could move faster she would whine and try to nip me to leave her down again and when I used to put her on the ground again she would walk away from me and not respond to my calling till she had made her point.
But she did have shivering issues, especially around kids and on bonfire night. The only year she did not shiver and shudder much on bonfire night was the year my Mastiff pup was very small. That year he was doing the shivering and she was playing the mum, trying to calm him down.

backslashbaby
01-23-2011, 11:43 AM
I've had dogs that I knew from pups have their own level of timidness, much different than their siblings. I think of them like kids to a certain extent that way. I have no idea why some are just more skittish by nature, but you get your shy, scaredy-cat ones, sure. Imho :)

Elaine Margarett
01-23-2011, 05:32 PM
I've had dogs that I knew from pups have their own level of timidness, much different than their siblings. I think of them like kids to a certain extent that way. I have no idea why some are just more skittish by nature, but you get your shy, scaredy-cat ones, sure. Imho :)

Of course there are personality differences. But it's the owner's responsiblity as the leader to address fear and shyness immeadiately. Dogs are not kids, they're dogs. The way you would treat a shy child (reassurances, talking to them, discussing their concerns with them, etc.) is different than the way you treat a shy dog. Coddling a fearful dog, holding a fearful dog, or protecting a fearful dog by not exposing it to fearful situations reinforces the fears.

Not addressing growling and nipping; especially if it's directed at the owner is a big mistake. It tells the dog you're not the one in control at a time the dog *desperately needs* to know you are in control. A calm, powerful leader is what a fearful dog needs. It tells them that as long as the owner says everything's ok, it is.

backslashbaby
01-24-2011, 02:50 AM
Of course there are personality differences. But it's the owner's responsiblity as the leader to address fear and shyness immeadiately. Dogs are not kids, they're dogs. The way you would treat a shy child (reassurances, talking to them, discussing their concerns with them, etc.) is different than the way you treat a shy dog. Coddling a fearful dog, holding a fearful dog, or protecting a fearful dog by not exposing it to fearful situations reinforces the fears.

Not addressing growling and nipping; especially if it's directed at the owner is a big mistake. It tells the dog you're not the one in control at a time the dog *desperately needs* to know you are in control. A calm, powerful leader is what a fearful dog needs. It tells them that as long as the owner says everything's ok, it is.

Oh, I totally agree! I only meant the kids part because folks know that human siblings can differ a lot.

Dogs are pretty awesome as dogs. No need to try to make them anything different :)

Elaine Margarett
01-24-2011, 04:57 PM
Oh, I totally agree! I only meant the kids part because folks know that human siblings can differ a lot.

Dogs are pretty awesome as dogs. No need to try to make them anything different :)

Absolutely! <g>

rainsmom
01-24-2011, 09:28 PM
Coddling a fearful dog, holding a fearful dog, or protecting a fearful dog by not exposing it to fearful situations reinforces the fears.
Actually, that's not entirely true.

Fear is an emotion, and emotions aren't subject to reinforcement or punishment. Emotions fall into the realm of classical conditioning rather than operant conditioning.

So, say you have a dog who is terrified of men. The goal would be to change the emotional response. A trainer might choose to address the problem using counter conditioning or desensitization, both of which are classical conditioning techniques. The trainer might have a man walk by the dog. Every time the man came into sight, the trainer would start shoveling cookies into the dog. Yummy cookies. Best in the world. The moment the man is out of the dog's sight, stop feeding cookies. Repeat until when the man walks into sight, instead of reacting fearfully, the dog turns to the trainers and looks for cookies.

Now, here's where it gets muddled. Unwanted behaviors like growling and lunging can start from fear and then become *learned* behaviors. If you did the above technique with a dog who was no longer *feeling* fearful, but instead was operantly applying a behavior that worked, then instead of decreasing the reaction, you'd reinforce it -- because you're working with operant conditioning.

In my opinion, the best way to work with fear is to use a combination of operant and classical conditioning. Work under threshhold always -- if the dog is overtly reaction, you need to get him out of the situation because nothing good is going to be learned. Work under threshhold, and watch the physical behaviors. Reinforce the *behaviors* you like -- lying calmly, watching calmly, taking a step toward, etc. Reinforce with both cookies AND by removing the dog from the situation (and removing the stress). That's focusing on the physical behaviors, but because Pavlov is always on your shoulder, you are ultimately associating positive emotions with the scary stimulus as well, accomplishing the counter-condititioning.

Elaine Margarett
01-24-2011, 09:54 PM
Actually, that's not entirely true.

Fear is an emotion, and emotions aren't subject to reinforcement or punishment. Emotions fall into the realm of classical conditioning rather than operant conditioning.

So, say you have a dog who is terrified of men. The goal would be to change the emotional response. A trainer might choose to address the problem using counter conditioning or desensitization, both of which are classical conditioning techniques. The trainer might have a man walk by the dog. Every time the man came into sight, the trainer would start shoveling cookies into the dog. Yummy cookies. Best in the world. The moment the man is out of the dog's sight, stop feeding cookies..

A problem with food reinforcement, though, is a truly fearful dog will not eat.

There are certainly different approaches to dog training and one of the benefits to food reward is that it's an easy concept for non-dog trainers to learn. Training really is more about training the human, don't you think? <g>

Canotila
01-25-2011, 09:27 AM
Actually, that's not entirely true.

Fear is an emotion, and emotions aren't subject to reinforcement or punishment. Emotions fall into the realm of classical conditioning rather than operant conditioning.



I think what she meant was, when you're googly talking a cowering dog and petting it lovingly the dog isn't thinking "I'm safe, my owner is taking care of me and there's nothing to be afraid of". At that point they are way over threshold and all they're hearing is "Good dog! Good dog to shiver and be afraid! That's right!" You're spot on about the rest of the counter conditioning though. That's how I got my dog-reactive borzoi to love other dogs again after a great dane gave him a big scar on the snout.

Elaine, food is only one kind of reward. If the dog is under threshold you can reinforce them being calm and non-reactive, and they will take the treat, or toy, or whatever is reinforcing for them. My dog doesn't care for treats, but ear rubs are like crack so I save those for training. Once they are over threshold the best thing is to remove them from the situation because it's very difficult for anybody to learn when they're having a nervous breakdown. When I first started working with my dog reacting to other dogs, his threshold was 100 feet away. Any closer and he'd flip out. Now he happily plays with strange dogs and can greet them on leash.

To the OP, all breeds have health issues. Not all dogs within a breed will have health issues. Some breeds have few, some have many. Mixes can have just as many, if not more, health issues than a purebred. This is pretty common if you mix two breeds prone to the same problems, like German shepherd and lab mixed is pretty likely to have hip problems. Or lab X poodle, etc.

As far as chihuahuas being nervous, I think that issue can stem from two things. Whenever any breed gets popular, people get their hands on them and start churning out puppies for $$ without bothering to test the parents for health problems and without regard for temperament. On top of that toy breeds are commonly puppymilled which results in a large pool of unhealthy dogs with out of standard temperaments. Many of the dogs bred in backyards and sold in the newspapers don't come from health tested show/working stock, they're the descendants of puppymill dogs.

The other thing it stems from is lack of socialization. I've met many more well socialized, happy, confident and quiet chihuahuas than barky shivery ones. Then again, most of the dog people I work around do things like agility with their chihuahuas, or therapy work, or show them. I don't find them to be a nervous or barky breed at all when they have the correct temperament. One of my good friends almost had a nervous breakdown when her little 4 lb. male decided to confront a black bear in her yard.

For a random quirk. . .sight hounds tend to sleep with their eyes open. My borzois do this, so do friends' greyhounds, whippets, and deerhounds.

backslashbaby
01-25-2011, 11:45 AM
LOL at the bear. They are insane, aren't they?! My little guy isn't allowed in with the horses anymore (not that he needed to be in there anyway). The bigger the animal, the more he tries to act like a total dufus.

Kitty27
01-25-2011, 04:06 PM
My Pekingese behaves as though she is a cat. Pays me no attention at all and does what she wants. My brother calls her the pound puppy from hell. I think Lucy Furr II is misunderstood. Pekingese have health issues,but so far my darling is healthy.

I watched my cousin's two teacup Chihuahuas when she was,ahem,a guest of the local police for a few months. The creatures are Satan's lap puppies. I have never seen such crazy dogs in all my life. But then my cousin is a lunatic and perhaps her dogs took after her. I don't know if she spoiled them unmercifully but they were awful the entire time I had them. They yapped ceaselessly and weren't afraid of any other dog. Storms,Rottweilers,my threats,nothing worked with these miniature bullies. I swear these dogs could have kicked Cesar Milan's ass. Quite frankly,I was afraid of them.

Beagle: My neighbor has one. I had NO idea that such a small dog could howl endlessly and ALWAYS when I am about to go to sleep. I have evil thoughts about this dog.

Reziac
01-26-2011, 12:20 AM
I don't usually get into dog forums/threads cuz they make me tear my hair out, but....

Speaking as a pro trainer (primarily working retrievers, also solving out-of-control issues) with 41 years and around 3000 dogs worth of experience, and 13 generations of my own breeding to date...

Irrational fear OF something is usually a redflag for juvenile psychosis, an inherited problem, probably the same thing as schizophrenia in humans. The onset tends to be sudden and specific, such as fear of men, fear of people wearing hats, or whatever the dog happened to see when it had its first episode (generally around puberty; it's actually a failure to mature). More common in females (90% of cases) than males, but with early neutering preventing normal maturation, we're seeing it more often in males now too. With a lot of persistence (usually you're better off to "wear out" the fear reaction rather than placate it) most can eventually get past the worst of it, but they are never entirely reliable, nor entirely free of fear. Most of the supposedly "abused" dogs at "rescues" are of this type. No one ever abused that dog; it came that way, and it's no one's fault (other than too much blaming "lack of socialization" for their behaviour -- trust me, it makes absolutely no difference -- then breeding from them as if they were normal to start with. A problem I see commonly in hobby/show breeders, especially in rare breeds, but seldom from pet breeders, who have no investment in the dog's fame.)

But most of the fear/aggression we see in pets today is due purely to lack of leadership by the human, because OMG it might be terrible if you actually asserted your authority and hurt the dog's self-esteem! But dogs aren't wired to be the leader, and if the human fails at the job of deciding how the pack behaves, the dog feels like it has to do it -- which is stressful for the dog. And the result is that the dog either freaks (fear), or bullies (aggression). There are a lot of shades but that's the basics. This type of fear/aggression vanishes like magic the moment a human-in-charge comes on the scene (tho it may take some doing to get the dog to accept leadership again, if the habit is really entrenched).

There are a few dogs that are neither schizo nor lacking leadership, but are just wired wrong and cannot accept authority -- training those is at best a stopgap, as they're essentially Cool Hand Luke.

The problem with the whole operant conditioning theory is that it flies counter to instinct, as well as forgetting that dogs think and reason too. While it can work if you either have a very dumb dog or a very persistent trainer, otherwise it's a recipe for trouble, because the real world is not the OB or agility ring, and most people do not and cannot do that level of day-in and day-out conditioning just to keep good and pleasant control of their dog. (Meaning where the dog willingly stays under control, rather than it being a constant struggle, or lost the moment something else is more interesting than the bribe.)

The root problem with food training is that in nature, the underling offers the bribe to the boss (who may then decide to graciously "share" with the underling -- but more likely not). So it tends to confuse the human's status as "leader" in the dog's mind (a good dog goes "why am I suddenly the boss?" and an outlaw thinks "Cool! I knew I was in charge!") -- Clicker is worse, as it makes the dog GUESS what you want. Remember when you were a kid, the worst thing an adult could do is make you GUESS what was desired behaviour?! Dogs think just like little kids.

Yeah, food training is easier for the novice human -- but the long-term effect is to teach the human that they are NOT in charge (humans react the same way about bribes vs boss too, ya know) -- and that the dog IS. Very few everyday pet owners can get past that and reassert their leadership (meaning that the dog cheerfully accepts it) ... nor should they have to. Why not start from a position of leadership, rather than have to struggle for it?

My own training method boils down to -- the best reward for good work is -- more work. Looking forward to pleasing the human, again.

BTW Rain, I was a charter member of the CCRCA, stayed with it 19 years (and founded both the OFA and CERF breed club rep programs), but have been out of Curlies for a long time now. Just had the one litter of Curlies (now I only have Labs), but for a long time nearly every good working Curly in the western US was descended from that litter (http://curlycoatedpedigrees.co.uk/scripts/reverse.pl?op=tree&index=3217&gens=5&db=curlycoat.dbw).