Mark's Dog Blog

Dog trainers selling snake oil

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Your dog is not a robot! Reliable does not mean guaranteed!   No matter what you are training your dog to do, and no matter what training methodology or tool you subscribe to, there is no such thing as a 100% fully trained dog.   For example, any trainer that informs you that once he or she has trained your dog that they can guarantee your dog will recall off lead every time in any given situation, or under any distraction, or instantly respond to a command every single time, is selling you a lie for no other reason than to take your money. They are selling snake oil to dog owners in desperate need of help.   You can guarantee one day when you least expect it, the training will fail you and your dog, and it doesn't matter what methodology or tools your dog was trained with. There will...
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Road rage, not just a human condition

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Anxiety paired with frustration are the major triggers for leash aggressive dogs. If you have a reactive dog, then it is more than likely he is a lead puller, that is intensely focused on everything else but YOU. Walking the anxious dog Anxiety------> held back on leash------> triggers opposition reflex response------> triggers frustration = AGGRESSION Let's look at this issue from a human perspective. You have an important meeting to attend. You are running late because you have misplaced some important documentation that you must take. You are rushing around the house checking all the places you feel you may have left it. You are running more and more late... You are becoming more and more anxious, feeling you are not going to make your important appointment on time. Finally, you find the documentation, you look at your watch... running 15 mins late... You rush out to the car overly anxious...
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Dealing with aggression

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Dog owners need to stop listening to all the rubbish. Behaviours need consequences, and especially for aggression. All this rubbish that using counter-conditioning techniques, redirecting on to a treat, or keeping the dog below threshold , will stop extreme cases of aggression, is lunacy. Keeping a dog below threshold so that the aggressive response is not triggered is nothing more than avoiding the trigger, which is almost impossible to do in society unless we lock the dog away and give it no quality of life. By avoiding a behaviour being triggered, we have no way to extinguish it. First rule: A dog cannot learn what behaviour to avoid unless it is actually in the process of displaying the unwanted behaviour. We catch the dog at threshold (and not allow it to go too far over) and then punish the aggressive response. If we allow the dog to become overly aroused or...
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Enforced Discipline

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If you don't subscribe to the theory that behaviours should have predictable consequences (especially unacceptable behaviours), then how can you be sure your dog will make the right choices that ensure a harmonious and well-balanced relationship, or indeed one that is even safe? You can't! A dog left to itself will always choose behaviours that are 'self-serving' in that moment, and not what's best for the family unit or the current social environment it finds itself in. Your dog could care less if its behaviour affects you negatively if the behaviour itself is self-rewarding for the dog. This is why enforced discipline is so important. It's guiding the dog to make the correct choices that benefit the social group as a whole. Ignoring a behaviour or trying to only teach an alternative behaviour is not enforced discipline. By relying on this methodology all we can hope is that no motivator will...
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To truly help a dog, don't become attached to a tool or method

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Whenever I go into a client's home, I never go in with a preconceived notion that I am going to use a particular method or tool.  My number one focus is to first understand the underlying cause for the behavioural issue, and what the triggers are. Important in this observation is what type of relationship the owner has with their dog and then I work from there. I realise I do express myself strongly about positive-only and force free methods. However, these feelings are directed at those that are not willing to step outside their box and open their eyes to other methods, or that continually accuse trainers that have a more open and balanced approach as being abusive. Or if their 'method of choice' is not successful, they tend to blame the dog or owner, instead of accepting that other methods may be more appropriate for this particular case. In...
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The emotional dog trainer, and drawn out methodology

The emotional dog trainer, and drawn out methodology
Training or modifying simple behaviours has become too complicated and drawn out due to the fact that emotion in training has overridden simple logic. I was involved in a conversation in a FB group, about conditioning a dog not to jump on people. A dog trainer posted a video of him giving a simple but effective leash correction to stop a dog from jumping on his daughter. It was simple, fast and immediately effective. Of course all the 'experts' came out of the woodwork, giving their opinion on how the dog 'should' have been trained to stop jumping. First we need to teach an incompatible behaviour, so the dog knows what to do, before we teach it what not to do. By not teaching a dog what to do first, we are giving the dog too many other options to try and figure out what it should do, instead of jumping....
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Mother nature knows best

Mother nature knows best


Did you know that anxiety in dogs is the major reason behind so many behavioural issues, such as; obsessive compulsive behaviours aggression (towards human or dog) fear self mutilation incessant barking separation stress bullying (other dogs or humans) lead pulling and frustration over the top excited behaviours and the list goes on. Don't listen to what many ill informed people will tell you, that anxiety is a brain disease that needs to be treated with medication. In over 99.99% of cases all dogs need is a change to their environment, and/or within the relationship they have with their owner. Anxiety is usually a sign that all of the dogs instinctive needs are not being met, whether that be environmental or social. Most cases of anxiety can be brought under control and even alleviated once we have a full understanding of the underlying triggers, and without medication. Once we have the dogs...
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Respecting personal space, and dominance the evil word

Respecting personal space, and dominance the evil word
When we were young children, our parents taught us to respect their and other people's personal space. Hopefully as parents now you do the same for your children. However, how many teach their dog this very important rule? Not many. The number one rule I always advise my clients to adhere to is to teach their puppy/dog to respect personal space. This rule alone has the potential to help eliminate so many behavioural issues you may be having with your dog, such as; anxiety overly excited behaviour jumping up and other attention seeking behaviours nipping and biting Impulsive behaviours, such as door and gate rushing and in many cases even aggressive behaviour Many sensitive and insecure dogs start to develop self-confidence when they understand their place with you, as nothing makes a dog feel more insecure than taking on a leadership role it is not genetically capable of carrying out. If...
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An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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When we get a new puppy, we should never wait until unwanted behaviours such as jumping or overly excited behaviour has been learnt, before we then decide now that the dog is too big or out of control, we need to stop the behaviour. Its much easier and less stressful on a young dog if we set the rules from day one, at 8 weeks. Of course, it is much better to teach a dog appropriate behaviours before the pup learns the inappropriate behaviours. The main reason young dogs learn to be jumpers, is because we make too much of a fuss of them the moment we get home, or we let them out of their crate, or any time we have initial contact with with them. What happens due to classical conditioning, is we create triggers that switches the dogs brain in to an overly anxious or excitable state whenever...
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Latest Posts

06 May 2019
A person that informs you that a particular tool is abusive, and yet hasn't even bothered to educate them self or learnt how to use it correctly, must be refusing to personally validate their own views with practical experience because the emotional ...
365 Hits
05 May 2019
Standard tools like halters, no-pull harnesses, slip collars, correction chains, prong collars, all use physical pressure/force to apply negative reinforcement and positive punishment. An ecollar on the other hand applies NO physical force on the dog...
649 Hits
03 May 2019
RSPCA are one the biggest killers of dogs with behavioural issues, not only in Australia, but every country they operate in. You only have to look up their statistics. A society that is supposed to be an advocate for animals and have sworn to protect...
739 Hits
01 May 2019
Many ask why are a majority of my posts about punishment? Well, isn't that the major issue we have now in regards to raising our dogs correctly, not understanding the appropriate application and the misrepresentation of "positive punishment" and "neg...
439 Hits
08 July 2018
I like to simplify things as much as possible when I am with clients to help them understand their dog better. One of the major hurdles most dog owners have when working through modifying behaviour is remaining consistent, and this means 'forever'.Wh...
2864 Hits
11 January 2018
It doesn't surprise me the emotive backlash I received from a 'few' dog owners in regards to my Facebook post, that a major part of the problem in regards to people humanising dogs and therefore the continuing rise in dog bites, dog attacks and aggre...
6280 Hits
01 January 2018
I don't mind people visiting to my Facebook page and disagreeing with my professional views, as everyone has a right to an opinion. What surprises me is how many become emotionally unhinged, just because a 'professional' has rocked their core beliefs...
3281 Hits
31 December 2017
"Your dog does not love you!"That is the number one comment I make that surprises many of my clients, and many even become upset that I would even suggest such a thing about their dog. When I am with clients where I can see that they are allowing emo...
4146 Hits