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He mentioned that he will be doing this while training his new dog. He uses his dogs to guard his place of business overnight... He assured me that it's an actual training technique to "prevent thieves from calming down and bypassing the dogs" but I can't find anything about it online and it sounds like abuse. Is this a legitimate training technique ?

He is not a trained professional and handles all training by himself.

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    this question is a bad fit for our site and it will attract unwanted attention,i vote to close this as opinion based because i think people will have fairly strong opinions about this subject. May 14, 2022 at 3:00
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    and yes this is definitely abuse,dogs have a sensitive smell and taste reseptors compared to humans by an order of magnitude. May 14, 2022 at 3:06
  • I changed the title to make it less biased. It definitely sounded like abuse to me, but perhaps it is a "legitimate" technique used by trainers?
    – Dennis
    May 14, 2022 at 3:13
  • I assume the answer to your question (in a NOT opinion based way) depends strongly from where you live. For example in Switzerland it is forbidden by law to use equipment which is painful (also smell or taste) for the dog while training. The rule is that the use of these devices must not cause injury or significant pain to a dog, or cause severe irritation or fear. Translated from tierimrecht.org/de/news/newsmeldungen-2021/… May 14, 2022 at 4:35
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    I found multiple sources claiming spices that contain capsaicin might cause the dog digestive problems such as gas, stomach pains, and diarrhea. But also, human foods made to be spicy commonly contain ingredients other than the spices that are known to be actually toxic to dogs, like onion and garlic.
    – Kai
    May 14, 2022 at 5:58

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Let's just skip the discussion whether it's legitimate, forbidden, morally acceptable, etc. and just consider one thing: It probably won't work anyway!

While each and every dog is different, I'd still suggest they all can be categorized into one of two groups, no matter their breed:

Some dogs are nitpicky eaters double-checking everything and only eating whatever they feel like while others will just guzzle down whatever they can get, no matter the source.

So assuming you've got dogs for guarding that have a strong territorial behavior, rather than convincing the dog that stranger's food is bad - which as we all agree is at least questionable - eliminate this possibility simply by ensuring the dogs are always well fed and not hungry.

If food isn't a concern, territory/pack property will be a far higher priority compared to dogs kept hungry to make them more "aggressive" or whatever. They can always get rid of the intruder first and eat later.

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  • I agree, but it does not answer the question... The question isn't if it would work ;) May 14, 2022 at 15:51
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I agree with Mario thst it probably won't work, but for additional reasons.

Chili and lemon juice are known repellants for dogs. If your dog jumps up to steal food from the kitchen counter, many people advice to smear a fresh chili or some lemon juice along the edge of the counter to deter this kind of behavior.

However, both substances have a distict smell and dog's sense of smell is much better than ours. So if your acquaintace spikes a hotdog with chili and has someone throw it over the fence, the dog will surely have an unpleasant experience. But instead of never eating food from strangers, it'll instead learn to check the smell first.

I'm 100% convinced that the dog would eat a hotdog thrown by a strangers that was devoid of the smell of chili. It might be very cautious and only eat after the immedieate threat is gone, but eventually it'll eat it. If the hotdog was spiked with a tranquilizer (or worse), it still did its job.

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