Yesterday, 05:34 PM
phill4paul - When you "force" them to show you belly, do they do it voluntarily or is there physical manipulation of their body to show belly? If you have to touch them at all in order to achieve submission, then youre fooling yourself and they arent really submitting, just going into a position that youre putting them in to. I think you are fully aware it isnt about controlling the body, but the mind. Showing belling completely voluntarily is only a reflection that the dogs mind is submitting. A truly balanced dog requires nothing more than a light touch, like a tap on a shoulder or a light tug on a leash. If you have to do anything more than a touch, then something else is off in the dogs behavior. During training, such as teaching to sit, a touch should only be used as a guide. Touching a dogs back toward their tail and repeating the word to "sit" creates an association that the word you are using has "something" to do with that part of their body. "Shake" while lightly squeezing a dogs paw helps to create the initial association between the word and that part of their body. I only use a touch to break a dogs focus on something like another dog.
Strong pokes are reserved only when a dog is on their way to a "red zone" or "dangerous" behavior. I issue my pokes as strong corrections with a Dominant and Calm expression of my stance, more Dominant than Calm in this case, but both are expressed. Once in a "red zone", there is no type of touch that will break that focus, including hits. Only thing you can do at that point is total restraint and redirect. "Red zone" means that the dog has lost total control over their behavior and does not necessarily indicate the state of mind in every fight. If you and me were to be in a physical brawl, one might misinterpret that as "red zone", but unless one of us hits absolute panic state, despite being in a fight, that isnt "red zone". Red zone is when the dog loses all control of themselves and acts of aggression are not always "red zone". "Red zone" is when a total mauling occurs, not a simple nip or warning bite. In red zone states, get the dog out of the situation so what ever they are reacting to is no longer present, then it is just a matter of time. A good example of a red zone behavior is a person who is terrified of spiders. They see a spider and completely freak out and lose self control. That is when people literally piss their pants, and is a result of all self control. At that point in time, that person can be put into a "time out" which isnt really a "correction" but an opportunity for them to calm down, and is done with a space they can feel safe. Saw a spider outside? Go inside and catch your breath, but no further corrections are necessary because they wont respond as you expect them to. Never ever allow yourself to go into a "red zone" expression of behavior in the presence of a dog, ever. You can immediately destroy their image of you as a Calm Dominant pack leader. What happens there is if they think you dont have self control, they will try to take your place on the food chain and try to establish themselves as dominant over you. That takes quite a while to repair, even from a single incident. I dont think your dog sounds like a "red zone" case.
In general, dogs usually want two things, Trust and Respect. It sounds to me like one of those things is missing. Ive met plenty of dogs, so its easy to recognize the combinations of the two. The real goal is to Trust you enough to submit and Respect you enough to obey. If one of those things is not had, then I think you see behavioral issues like you describe. I think what may be missing in the dog's mind is the Trust.
Next, it is one thing for them to recognize you as pack leader, but another thing entirely to offer the same Trust and Respect to other members of your "pack". They also have to learn that all other humans are given a higher position of authority than they are. So...