The Socialization of Dogs With Abnormal Behavior - Sascha Bartz - E-Book

The Socialization of Dogs With Abnormal Behavior E-Book

Sascha Bartz

9,99 €


How can a dog with behavioral problems be trained? And why do so many attempts to train untrained dogs fail? The answer to the second question is the anthropomorphization of the dog and the inconsistent differentiation between socialization and education. Thus, on the one hand, needs are attributed to the dog, which he simply does not have, and on the other hand, attempts are made to socialize him by means of the methods of conditioning, which are doomed to failure. Conditioning, however, does not lead to insight - as the psychologist says. But the latter is the goal of education. In addition, there is a lack of compliance of the owners and the power of habits. For a better understanding, the author lets his therapy dog Neo tell the connections from his point of view in this book.

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Seitenzahl: 221


Neu Karin, 2020

Dear Neo,

I owe most of my knowledge about the nature of dogs to your predecessors.

Only through them did I understand that humans mistakenly measure your behavior by their own behavioral motives and therefore misinterpret them.

Not the dog does not understand the human being, but the human does not understand the dog.

Thus the human being behaves misunderstandably opposite the dog and brings it into unsolvable conflicts.

I could not have guessed that you as her successor could top this role of the teacher again. Only through you have understood what the relationship between you and us is actually based on.

Today you accompany me as a therapy dog and help me to give other dogs a better and more relaxed life.

And how we can understand each other better, we have described together in this book.

Thanks Neo

If you want to learn more about the dog trainer Sascha Bartz:



01. My an my boss

or why was this book written?

02. The expertise of an aviation expert

or why is alternative knowledge so difficult?

03. The two pillars of our personality development

or why are socialization and education not the same thing?

04. Anthropomorphism as a cause of conflict

or is the accusation of humanization justified?

05. The socialization of the dog

or what is behind our socialization?

06. Dialogue with the great-grandfather

or must all of us be socialized?

07. The crazy recommendations of "experts“

or why do dogs tug at the leash?

08. The duration of a dog socialization

or when did mistress understand my boss?

09. The myth "trainer effect"

or does man underestimate our intelligence?

10. The cognitively based failure of our socialization

or what power do the Basal Ganglia have?

11. One more reason for the failure

or do you know the metaphor of the water glass?

12. Stress symptoms and the risk of their misinterpretation

or do you know the crux of complexity?

13. Our momentous role reversal

or what consequences does this have for our socialization?

14 "Relationship instead of socialization".

or what danger does this message pose?

15 "Click for Look"

or what does this have to do with the king of the Molossians?

16. The deprivation

or where should mistress buy us?

17. "My dog is aggressive"

or is this a question of commitment?

18. the true grimaces behind the seductive masks

or may mistress punish us?

19 The absurdity of "pack therapy"

or what is a failure to provide assistance?

20. The fairy tale of the brave little tailor

or is anti-hunting training necessary?

21. "Dog bites child almost to death"

or other time: may we be punished?

22. Rottweiler & Co. need a "firm hand“

or is our punishment perhaps even paradoxical?

23. Our species-appropriate husbandry

or do we feel comfortable at all then?

24. The error called dominance

or is mistress always the boss in the ring?

25. Baby swimming and puppy play groups

or is this "all stupid stuff"?

26. The paradox of an nature test

or how high is the risk of a misjudgement?

27. The trick is in the detail

or another criticism of the nature test?

28. Another justification fort he shortening of our socialization

or "are you an impostor or a genius?“

29. The high school of the dog school

or when does socialization meet aducation?

30. From the everyday life of a dog trainer

or we are happy about every call for help



You are just starting to read our second book, so I intend to introduce myself and my boss in a very short time. Because I already did this in more detail in our first book with the title "Problem dogs and their therapy".

But before I start, let me make two remarks:

In the interest of fluent reading, we have decided to refrain from mentioning both when using gender designations and instead use only the feminine form, with the exception of those passages where it seems stylistically more elegant or traditionally more appropriate to use the masculine form. Thus we are mainly content with the term dog owners when it comes to masters and mistresses. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that we always mean both genders and do not want to express that only mistresses have problems with their four-legged darling by choosing the female form; on the contrary. On the contrary, it is rather the case that she rather than he has the courage to admit this, as a result of our daily practice, so to speak.

A second remark refers to the contents of the book. Since we decided to design this book as a summary of a selection of texts that my boss has already published in a loose sequence on the social network, it was not avoidable that some chapters contain technical repetitions. But we think that this should be acceptable in so far as we consider these to be important aspects in dog training; and therefore they cannot be repeated often enough.

Who am I?

My name is Neo and I am a German Shepherd Dog. I have been accompanying my boss for many years on his so-called therapy tours through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavian. As a dog trainer, he only "treats" the so-called behaviorally conspicuous members of my species, so he likes to have me with him. He uses me from time to time as a sparring partner for his clientele, in order to subsequently check the success of the intraspecific socialization that he had previously striven for (to stay in the jargon - but which is still explained in this book). I always have to play the bad guy, whereas the newly educated protagonist has to demonstrate his successfully acquired disinterest, which is the goal of the training, even if he would have loved to tear me apart. And that even if I perform a monkey theater that provokes him as much as it provokes him.

For this reason, why I should sometimes be nice and sometimes bad, my boss has deliberately not relieved me of my responsibility for both our safety, which I am very happy to comply with due to my cultivated predispositions (therefore I can be bad if necessary); but at the same time he has limited my scope of decision, so that whenever a decision to apply my agonistic behavior repertoire is due, I have to ask his permission (therefore I can also be nice if he denies it to me).

This brings us to a peculiarity in dog training, which is not the subject of this book, because here we mainly deal with the cases as we describe them in the following in the step "What are problem dogs?

For the sake of completeness we will only go into my peculiarity briefly at the end of the book in the chapter "The high school of the dog school".

Also in this book I am the narrator again, because my boss thinks that the topics discussed here should be told by a dog. Because anthropomorphism (humanization - we will also explain later on) and the resulting misinterpretation of our canine behavior and our misunderstanding by humans is the source of all evil.

Who is my boss?

I just mentioned that he is a dog trainer. But not yet that he is only and exclusively concerned with the socialisation of my species. This is worth mentioning because, as he openly admits, he does not like to interfere in the education of our species, because he often lacks the patience to do so. Furthermore, he prefers to leave this field to the many dog schools, which would also do this job very professionally. Instead, he prefers to deal with socialization, and again mainly with those heroes of my species, where there are already manifest behavioural problems, such as aggressions of all kinds, biting attacks or other incidents, which might have already called the official veterinarian on the scene. But also the well-known linen aggressors and permanent barkers arouse his interest. In short, he is interested in all cases of unwanted behavior, so called problem dogs.

What are problem dogs?

The answer to this question is not so simple, especially since we are already entering the potentially mined field of anthropomorphism, which I will discuss in detail later. For if, for example, a child behaved adequately like us when we bit strangers in the arm or elsewhere, everyone would say it was a problem child. But to attribute the same to us would be anthropomorphising. Because when we bite, we do not behave in a problematic way, at least from our perspective, but, if you like, we only exercise our legitimate right to self-defense.

What I mean to say is that there are problem dogs in the human interpreted sense of the word, in which this term seems to be really justified, only very rarely. Because such are predominantly pathological, often neuropathological justified. And measured by the frequency it would be absurd to assume that these are all psychopaths. However, the vast majority of my species, which are typically called problem dogs because of their behavior, are in fact only victims of wrong interpretations of this allegedly problematic behavior by humans.

Nevertheless, I do not want to owe an answer to the question, what problem dogs are in the local context. My boss describes all those of my species as such, who show a behavior unwanted by their mistresses and not correctable by them or a non-correctable behavior, with which they harass, endanger or even harm other members of our fauna (humans and animals).

He strictly distinguishes between the real problem dogs and the so-called problem dogs. He speaks of real dogs when there is actually a neuropathological damage; the poor devils can't help it, so to speak.

But the predominant part, and only with these we are concerned here, are the so-called. These are dogs in which an socialization, which is necessary according to the circumstances, has not or not yet taken place or has failed, and which therefore behave intraspecifically (towards their own conspecifics), interspecifically (towards other living beings including humans) or environmentally (reacting to different environmental influences) in a non-socialized way, and this behavior disturbs, endangers or even harms the owners or other humans.

The restriction that my boss makes by using the term "socialization necessary according to the circumstances" means that not all dogs have to be socialized compulsorily. But we will go into this in the chapter "Dialogue with the great-grandfather". But the question of guilt or responsibility shall not be answered here yet. But you will find the answer in this book. In a semantically correct way, we should therefore speak of problem mice instead of so-called problem dogs. In this book we use the two pairs of terms so-called problem dog and so-called behaviorally conspicuous dog synonymously.

What were the reasons for writing this book?

Three facts have motivated us to write another book on the socialization of so-called behaviorally challenged dogs:

the multiplicity and accumulation of cases in which dog owners turn to my boss almost desperately and seeking help, because they have not received satisfactory help despite regular odysseys of dog school visits and the undesirable behavior of their protégés has not really been eliminated And this although there would have been a relatively simple solution for almost all of these cases.

the findings derived from the analysis of these cases regarding the representative causes of the failure of dog socialization and the resulting motivation for us to present the most common mistakes made by dog schools or dog trainers once in a book

our lack of understanding why my boss, when he publishes his knowledge and experience on the social network, encounters so much resistance and rejection

One of the first questions that can be derived from this is why, on the one hand, despite or against better knowledge in dog socialization, training methods are still used whose usefulness and effectiveness is at least questionable, if not already scientifically disproved; and on the other hand, newer or alternative knowledge is stubbornly rejected or denied.



When my boss puts his knowledge and experience on the social media network up for discussion, to his amazement he is occasionally exposed to malicious attacks or even personal insults. And his astonishment is all the greater the more he is convinced that his published knowledge is not even very new and should be understandable in many cases simply by common sense.

But his publications obviously have a "flaw": they contradict established and widespread beliefs. And as is well known, one knows that holy cows are not (or must not be) slaughtered so easily.

For example, he is surprised when his observation that all training methods that use the means of reward to achieve the desired training goal - scientific psychology speaks of operant conditioning (in the circus of dressage) - are not suitable means to socialize a dog, almost causes a storm of indignation. The reactions are similarly violent when he claims that training a dog is usually possible in just one training session.

And although he gives factual reasons for his statements, they provoke - to his great astonishment - such emotional reactions of rejection.

But as chance would have it, he got into conversation with an aviation expert who gave him a surprising explanation for this phenomenon:

In aviation there is a research and investigation topic called Human-Factors. Within the framework of this topic, the causes of human error are examined in order to develop error avoidance strategies. Among other things, this involves the question of why mistakes happen to humans and which cognitive performance limits possibly play the causal role. The results are interesting findings on how the brain "deals" with errors, also known as cognitive error management.

And so that we could better understand the connections, he held a small discourse on the neuroscientific findings on the so-called endogenous (body's own) reward system of the brain and its adversary, the content of which I will try to reproduce in the following in my own words and in concise form:

As is well known, evolution has made humans the most successful species of our fauna; it is virtually their greatest success story. No other species has been able to adapt so flexibly to unfavorable and ever-changing environmental conditions and thus successfully conquer a wide variety of habitats. The decisive role in this process was, and still is, without doubt the human brain. One of the functions that the brain has, among others, is to ensure that its owner is constantly striving for something new. Because adaptation of the organism requires its further development. Stagnation would have meant the opposite. And in order to ensure this further development, nature has come up with a trick that makes people strive for something new endogenously, so to speak, out of inner motivation: We call it curiosity.

Prince Vladimir Odoevsky writes about this curiosity in his cycle "Russian Nights" (1844): "In all times the soul of man, with an urge of indomitable power, involuntarily turns, like a magnet to the North, to tasks whose solution is hidden in the depths of those mysterious elements which form and unite the spiritual and material life; nothing holds back this urge ... this urge is so constant that it sometimes seems as if it is carried out like the physical functions independently of the will of man".1

Odojewski could not yet know the scientific rationale for this typically human behavior and aspiration anchored in its essence. Only modern neuroscience has deciphered it, at least in part. It is a kind of neural reward system that drives human beings.

Manfred Spitzer, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ulm, describes it in his book "Lernen" (Learning) as follows: "... our brain continuously calculates in advance what will happen soon, and when this happens, which is usually the case, the event is recorded as insignificant and not processed further .... Occasionally, however, something else happens. Sometimes events occur that differ positively from what the brain has predicted. We do something, and the result of this action is better than expected. If this is the case, then more happens than the reassuring comparison of what was predicted and what occurred. Rather, a signal is generated in the brain." And when this signal is produced, it leads "to a release of neuropeptides ... which are mainly endogenous substances that have opiate-like effects ... and give us a positive feeling ...“.2 Opium rewards and is known to be addictive.

And the behavioral scientist Edward Lee Thorndike (1874 - 1949), who became famous for the "problem cage" he developed to carry out learning experiments with dogs and cats, spoke of an effect law according to which an animal's learning was successful.3 According to this, successful action is "stamped" by the pleasant feeling generated by it. But if a behavior leads to an error, an unpleasant feeling arises.

And thus we are with our problem. Man is addicted to success, but he likes the opposite, the failure that correlates to an unpleasant feeling, not at all. In other words, he shuns defeats or disappointments and mistakes like the devil shuns holy water, because the hormone system not only does not reward them, but, on the contrary, even "punishes" them with a horrible feeling. And this then becomes all the more unpleasant, the more the erring person has previously invested in what now turns out to be an error; be it effort, money, time or other expenditure. So similar to the reward: the greater the distance between expectation and result, but in this case in the form of a negative distance, the more unpleasant the feeling. The consequence: The human being tries with all means and tricks to avoid the stupid feeling following the error.

For this reason there is for example in scientific work the demand for falsification (refutation of a scientific statement by a counter-example), if one wants to claim to have come to his knowledge by scientific means. This is a principle of philosophy of science closely related to the science theorist Karl Popper (1902-1994), who said that a positively formulated thesis is only valid until the first counterexample has been found (see Ulrich and Johannes Frey Pitfalls)4. His famous example: All swans are white. As soon as a single black one is found, this proposition is falsified, i.e. false. Therefore, one should not look for ten white swans to prove the thesis, but for one black one. Because man I would fall in love too quickly with a thesis that I had worked on with great effort and then find it extremely difficult to remain critical of counter-signals.

Man's attempt to avoid error produces such flowers that everyone should know. Even when the intellect already doubts, the will still clings to error for a long time. For it wants to keep away from itself as long as possible the unpleasant, or even just also dreadful feeling of disappointment or even the fear, which is perhaps connected with the new realization. And this although it would be rationally much more advantageous to deal with the new knowledge as quickly as possible in order to limit the possible damage.

The aviation expert continues: Pilots, for example, would still be very familiar with this phenomenon of "clinging to the wrong truth" from the time when GPS and similarly modern navigation systems did not yet exist. Back when they still had to orientate themselves and find their destination using a map and compass. For example, they feared nothing as much as a loss of orientation and the consequences that came with it. Because they couldn't just stop, get out and ask someone. If they got lost and compared the representation of nature on their map with the real world, and both no longer really corresponded, restlessness arose. And although the mind said, "You, we have lost our way and should hurry up and look for a way out", such mad reactions occurred that rivers and lakes down there, which looked completely different on the map or were not there at all, were reinterpreted until they "fit".

One could also say that man here displays an innate avoidance behavior in order to avoid the disgusting feeling of being mistaken.

"And now ...", said the aviation expert to my boss, "imagine the following scenario:

The maniac would have fulfilled his life's dream and opened his own dog school with the noble intention of helping all those whose dogs always do the opposite of what they are supposed to do; wanting to yap, pull, bite, etc. And in order to create the necessary conditions, he invested all his possessions in his own education and qualification; acquired knowledge where he could; graduated from a foreign private academy; participated in all kinds of courses, seminars, further education and training of all kinds and, according to his assessment, finally and finally acquired all the supposedly necessary knowledge for a successful management of his school with a lot of effort and effort, probably also with considerable costs.

One of the central expert knowledge, which he acquired in the course of this, is the knowledge of the Russian physician and physiologist Iwan Petrowitsch Pawlow, which every dog trainer should know if he wants to know how to condition dogs successfully. Edward Lee Thorndike's knowledge about operant conditioning has also become second nature to him.

Now he only had to come up with a crisp marketing concept on how to motivate dog owners not only to come to his dog school, but also to do this as often or repeatedly as possible. Because, as he also learned in a marketing and management seminar, the regular customer is the bringer of the positive contribution margin. So he comes up with so-called customer loyalty measures such as tickets for ten people, puppy play groups every Sunday or joint pack trainings and collective dog group walks in the woods as well as other pleasant sounding dog meetings.

And so that the good and faithful dog school visitor does not lose his mood at some point or think that it is getting too expensive for him now, because the socialization success of his little leash aggressor is still not really achieved, it must be made clear to him that the education of a dog is a very complex and therefore very costly and above all long-lasting process. For, as Pavlows scientific experiments had already shown, conditioning is bound by a multitude of repetitions.

An indispensable prerequisite for the lunatic not to get a guilty conscience, however, is his own conviction of the correctness and seriousness of his theories, i. e. theses. Because we are not talking here about a dog school operator who is aware of his errors, because then we would have to talk about deception, fraud or malicious deception. Adequately as we in aviation do not analyze the mistakes that someone makes consciously in the context of the Human-Factors Research and accident investigation. Such cases are the responsibility of the public prosecutor. Rather, we deal exclusively with the mistakes that happen to someone without the person to whom they happen having wanted them to happen to him.

In other words, the erring person is deeply convinced of the correctness and virtue of what he knows and what he is doing. Nothing in this world could shake his convictions or even make him doubt them, for he had finally made a huge effort to acquire this knowledge for the successful socialization and education of a dog by means of his conditioning and had built his existence upon it. After all, in all knowledge transfer in which he had participated, the means of reward had been used - and obviously successfully - to dissuade a dog from undesirable behavior.

But now, suddenly and out of the blue, something completely unexpected happens, which threatens to make the house of cards of our protagonist's knowledge and convictions at least appear fragile, if not collapse. Some wise guy would come around the corner and say that it's all a mistake!

The much vaunted methods of operant conditioning, which include all those who work with rewards, are supposedly not explicit socialization methods and are only suitable for this to a very limited extent, if at all. One could successfully train a dog in this way, i. e. teach it skills such as sitting, place & Co. or have it do a double Rittberger backwards on command, but only seemingly train it, if at all. But one could not socialize it in any case, which is the goal of the socialization.

And to make matters worse, this wise guy also said that socialization, in contrast to education, is a relatively short term goal and not a long process, which does not justify a repeated visit to a dog school.

What would now happen in the central nervous system of our protagonist, more precisely in the brain, including the area behind the frontal lobe (called prefrontal cortex) and the so-called limbic system (where emotions are processed, among other things), as part of his cognitive error management? Can you imagine what a huge disappointment it would mean in the end, combined with fear of all the consequences if what the smart aleck claims were true? It would virtually turn his entire world of dog training upside down, to the point of questioning his livelihood.

So his brain first goes into a kind of self-calming defensive position and then rejects the news in bulk to gain time. Because: What must not be, cannot be. Science has even investigated this in extreme situations, in which an event that has occurred has supposedly catastrophic consequences for the person affected, and has even been able to prove that in such exceptional situations, man imagines the event to be reversible for fractions of a moment. The layman says that he does not want to admit it.

But the more resistant the creepy news proves to be and the more tenaciously it sticks and does not want to give way, the more the self-soothing gives way to a feeling that awakens insidiously and causes unrest. And ways out are sought to avoid the terrible consequences.