- A young dog picks up the TV remote when we are not paying attention. We see the dog with the remote in its mouth. We rush toward the dog saying "Rover, no you naughty boy", the dog rushes off so we give chase... Positive consequence.
- We chase the dog, and finally corner it. We grab the dog by the collar and get extremely angry, saying "you naughty boy, you know you shouldn't take this", as we hit the dog and remove the remote from the dogs mouth..... Unpleasant consequence.
- Dog pulls washing off the line and plays... Positive consequence. Result: Repeat behaviour
- Owner comes home, washing on ground, owner gets angry at dog, punishes the dog... Unpleasant consequence. Result: Avoid owner when washing on the ground.
The dog in the above scenario has no way to connect the 1st behaviour of pulling washing off the line with the final unpleasant consequence applied by the dog's owner.
Consider a 6 month old baby in a room by itself. The baby breaks something of value to you. You go in to that room and see what the baby has done, so you take the baby back to the broken object and get mad at the baby.... Does the baby really comprehend what you are trying to communicate to it, or just picking up on your aggressive energy and body language?
So to have a well balanced relationship with your dog, it is so important that we stop seeing dogs as good or bad. We can no more say that a killer whale is bad, because its throwing a seal around before it eventually kills it to eat. Or a dog that chases a chicken and kills it. These are nothing but natural instincts. No amount of telling or showing your dog it is bad for killing chickens is going to convince a dog it was naughty for doing so. The behaviour either produces fun or pleasant consquences, or it causes a consequence the dog chooses to avoid... No human concept of right or wrong, or good or bad behaviour.
Overly emotional people tend to project their emotional views and feelings on to their dog
A dog is neither good nor bad, and nor does it see itself as such, and nor does it view behaviours as good or bad. Life just produces consequences that the dog learns from, as part of its natural survival instincts. Anyone that informs you that it is cruel to punish (or correct, the term I and many others prefer to use) a behaviour, doesn't fully understand the concept I have outlined above. Those that do consider punishment as abuse are comparing it to someone getting angry, lashing out, and yes being abusive. They have trouble understanding or comprehending that punishment to condition a dog to avoid an unwanted behaviour is no different for the dog than learning to stay away from say a prickle bush, or moving into the shade when its getting too hot. I find that in most cases these type of people that find it difficult to comprehend that punishment is not an abusive act are people that tend to become overly emotional and find it difficult to control their own emotions, so best to inform everyone that because they cannot control their emotions, nobody can. I find most balanced trainers themselves have a more balanced life in regards to their emotions, they tend to be more stable, and tend to not allow emotions to override logic, and therefore have a more balanced outlook on life, where emotions are not taken to extremes. Most PO/FF trainers however tend to be more on the emotional side and have a tendency to go to emotional extremes, highs and lows. You see this a lot when you don't subscribe to the ideology or agenda the extremist element within these groups follow, their emotions become out of control and will aggressively personally attack the 'non-believers'. I have come across this a lot on my own Facebook page. And yet when talking between themselves and with those that follow their ideology, and about dogs in general, tend to be overly emotional to the other end of the spectrum, what I term the 'furbaby/furparent' syndrome. I realise I am generalising here, but what I have said here tends to be closer to the norm than not.
Since political correctness has become so strong within society, emotions are playing an overly critical role in how we can now live within society. This has actually fallen into our governments hands, as it allows them more and more control, and the eroding away of our God given freedoms. Common sense no longer exists, and society is being conditioned that we need governments to decide everything for us. We are being treated no differently than young children that don't yet have the capacity to make responsible decisions. Have you noticed that most of our laws are designed to prop up the revenue of our Governments, and to condition us to the reality of giving up more and more control?
You are probably asking what has all this got to do with our dogs? Well, political correctness is now even conditioning people to project human emotions and reasoning on to our animals, by animal rights activists like PETA, RSPCA, AWL and others that have government backing. Dogs are not allowed to be dogs any more, because suddenly after more than 30,000 years these groups have decided that dogs them self have been getting it all wrong. Suddenly dogs have become very emotional beings that perceive the world the same way those overly emotional humans do. They will have you believe that any form of discomfort is being abusive, but only if the discomfort is being applied by a human. If its applied by another dog, or a dog chooses to avoid something that naturally causes discomfort for the dog, that is totally acceptable. But God forbid, don't let it be a human, as we are evil abusive beings!
I predict, within the next 40 years, if we keep going the way we are, having dogs as family pets will be a long distant memory. By conditioning society to be overly emotional about dogs, and conditioning people to feel evil and guilty for even considering 'punishing' a behaviour, the rates of dog attacks, dog bites, and dogs generally out of control will keep increasing exponentially. Soon dogs will not be allowed in public because they are out of control (this freedom is slowly being taken away now), and therefore end up living their life locked away in backyards. When society gets to this stage then the animal rights activists will have all the ammunition they need to show that keeping dogs as domestic pets is abusive, because it is not allowing dogs any freedom. And it all started because it was believed that we as humans were abusive for using punishment.
We need people like me, that are willing to speak out against these groups that are trying to humanise dogs by expressing overly emotional rhetoric, as little do most of them realise, they are a part of the long term plan to remove dogs as pets. And what better way to do this than by turning people in to overly emotional dog owners and trainers.
What I feel I was alluding to is that we need to get past believing that learning principles such as positive punishment and negative reinforcement are in them self abusive acts, which they aren't. Just as eating is not an abusive act, unless taken to emotional extremes.
Dogs don't have a concept of good and bad, right and wrong. They live and learn purely by what has been ensuring their survival for hundreds of thousands of years, their natural instincts, which includes the principle of avoiding unpleasant consequences.
The attitude now of 'death before discomfort', is not doing our dogs any favours, nor the families that need to manage their dogs not only in public, but also in their homes. And in my opinion this overly emotional conditioning is a danger to our future life and relationship with our beloved dogs.
I realise I went went off on another tangent here from the intended content of the article, however I just went where my mind was taking me and just allowed it to flow and take me along for the ride :)