Two articles which come pretty close to my exact point of view!
I think a lot of you will find them refreshing...Enjoy!

Turin law: Walk your dog 3 times a day -- or be fined
Also bans turning pet into 'fluffy toy'
ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- Dog owners in Turin will be fined up to $650 if they don't walk their pets at least three times a day, under a new law from the city's council.
People will also be banned from dyeing their pets' fur or "any form of animal mutilation" for merely aesthetic motives such as docking dogs' tails, under the law about to be passed in the northern Italian city.
"In Turin it will be illegal to turn one's dog into a ridiculous fluffy toy," the city's La Stampa daily reported.
Italians can already be fined up to 10,000 euros and spend a year in prison if found guilty of torturing or abandoning their pets, but Turin's new rules go into much greater detail.
Dogs may be led for walks by people on bicycles, the rules say, "but not in a way that would tire the animal too much."
April 25, 2005

Volume 6 s Number 8 s August 2003

Be a Benevolent Leader
Why you shouldn’t worry about being “dominant” to your dog pack.  
Ideally, your dog feels secure and confident with your leadership, in a friendly and mutually beneficial relationship. He “works” for you because it gets him what he wants.
By Pat Miller
Dominance has become something of a dirty word in many dog-training circles, and for good cause. Behaviorists once used the word to appropriately define a relationship between two individuals in a social group. However, over recent decades, the word has been warped and twisted to inappropriately describe an assertive dog’s personality.
Sadly, “dominance” has often been used as justification to inflict a litany of punishment on dogs, especially those dogs who react defensively to force-based training methods. In the past, if a dog responded to compulsion-based training or punishment by defending himself with a growl or snap, this was interpreted as dominance and defiance. In addition, many natural, normal dog behaviors, such as the desire to sleep on soft surfaces (beds and sofas), jumping up in greeting, and an eagerness to dash through doorways to get to the great outdoors, were also interpreted by some people as “dominant” behaviors that needed correcting.
According to these outdated theories, a dog’s owners should be the only dominant figures in the household, and they were exhorted to establish dominance over their dogs by being forceful. We were cautioned by our trainers and by the dog-training books of the day not to tolerate any of our dogs’ resistance – and warned that if we failed to fiercely squash any opposition, disaster would ensue. We were urged to leap to the offense if a dog objected to our rough handling, and told to apply violent techniques such as scruff shakes and alpha rolls if our dogs dared resist.
Some trainers went even further, advocating extremely abusive methods such as hanging a dog by the choke chain and leash, “helicoptering” him in the air at the end of a chain and leash, or holding his head in a hole filled with water until unconsciousness, for behaviors ranging from something as mild as digging to as serious as aggression.
We’re past that
Fortunately for dogs, modern behavioral science has moved past the simplistic notion that a dog owner’s absolute dominance will solve all (or any) of a dog’s behavior or training issues. This is especially true in cases involving a dog who “fights back” when physically hurt or frightened. Severe physical punishments may force a dog to comply, but this can cause the dog to fear the person meting out the punishment, or become violent in return.
Today’s positive trainers recognize the importance of the relationship between dogs and their owners, and realize that, while force-based methods can effectively train dogs, they also risk damaging the relationship between dog and owner, sometimes beyond repair.
Gentle, humane training methods are as effective as pain-based techniques (if not more so) and can accomplish the same training goals without force and the attendant risk of negative reactions such as fear and aggression that are possible whenever force is applied.
Learning to lead
A good leader doesn’t need to be violent – she simply needs to create an environment where it is easy and rewarding for her followers to comply with her wishes, and difficult for them to make mistakes. She helps them succeed. Attending a positive training class with your dog is a good place to start establishing yourself as a benevolent leader to your dog. A training class helps you and your dog understand each other better, and your trainer can help the two of you problem solve if the road gets bumpy along the way.
A successful leader/owner controls valuable resources, and shares them with her dogs generously and judiciously. Appropriate behaviors earn rewards. Inappropriate behaviors do not. If resources are consistently awarded on the basis of desirable behaviors, and withheld in the presence of undesirable behaviors, what dog in his right mind would not choose to be well-behaved? It’s no different than teaching a toddler that he has to say “Please” to get a cookie rather than scream “Gimme!” at the top of his lungs while his face turns blue.
Dominance myths
When the “you have to dominate your dog” concept was in vogue, many trainers instructed their clients to establish “dominance” (used incorrectly here) over their dogs. This was supposed to be accomplished by, among other things, eating before the dog eats, going through doorways before the dog, and routinely rolling the dog on his back in a show of force.
Fortunately, current and more in-depth behavior studies have shown that in wild and domesticated dogs, it’s not true that the pack leader always eats first, goes through doorways first, or routinely rolls other pack members onto their backs to keep them in line. She may be able to do all those things if she wants, but it really is in the pack’s best interest – and hers – to be in a state of equilibrium that doesn’t involve a constant show of force.
When there is plenty of food to go around, there is no need for the pack leader to assert herself at the feed trough. If she is eager to go through a door, she may choose to go first, in which case lower-ranking pack members defer to her.  
We can’t emphasize enough what a pleasure it is to have a dog who offers a polite “sit” as a default behavior. She might sit because she wants something, or because she’s not sure what you want her to do; either way, you win.
And anyone who has ever watched dogs greeting and interacting quickly realizes that a “belly-up” posture on the part of a subordinate dog is usually voluntary. In fact, this voluntary submission posture normally triggers a response in the more assertive dog to call a truce. If one dog violently forces another onto his back and/or ignores the subordinate dog’s voluntary attempt at appeasement, the “underdog” is probably fighting for his life.
Similarly, the dog who is gets alpha-rolled by an owner may fear for his life and, terrified by his owner’s inexplicable violence, fight back accordingly.
Lower-ranking pack members show their deference to the leader with a number of body-language behaviors. Our Scottie, Dubhy, has learned the fine art of appeasing our very assertive Kelpie by keeping his eyes averted to avoid Katie’s intense Kelpie glare. As long as he avoids eye contact, she lets him pass without comment. He has, in essence, learned to say “please.”
 Kindly controlling
... The more assertive your dog’s personality, the more important it is that you control as many available resources as possible, and are consistent about paying them out for appropriate behavior. Whatever your dog’s personality, the better you are at controlling resources and awarding them for desirable behavior, the better behaved your dog is likely to be.
The benevolent leader concept comes naturally for some people. These are the folks who always seem to end up with well-mannered dogs without appearing to think much about it – it just happens. Either they were born with good “animal instincts,” or they had good human models to imitate from an early age. If it doesn’t come to you naturally, don’t despair, you can learn! ...
- Pat Miller, WDJ’s Training Editor, is also a freelance author and Certified Pet Dog Trainer in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She is the president of the Board of Directors of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and published her first book, The Power of Positive Dog Training, in 2001.



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