It's not OK for dog owners to say NO to their dog, but now its ok for a dog to say no to its owner! WTF?
The trainer in this article is advocating that we should allow dogs to make their own decisions by teaching the dog to say "No" to its owner
I agree, dogs should be conditioned to make the right choices, however to now say that the dog should be able to make its own choices on what it eats, when it goes outside, when to go for a walk, etc, etc, is taking things to far. Dogs, not unlike children, need to understand rules and boundaries, and many of these must be enforced whether they like it or not. Allowing your dog to dictate to you what it does or does not want to do is nothing more than an excuse for not carrying out proper training. As we all know, positive-only trainers in many cases are unable to condition a dog to avoid an unwanted behaviour, as in most cases you can only condition a dog to avoid an unwanted behaviour by pairing it with an unpleasant consequence. So what it appears this trainer is now advocating, to cover for an inefficient training method, is to now let the dog make all the decisions.
As the trainer in the article openly admits, her dog usually responds with a yes... Really? Well it appears the 'yes' response has the stronger motivator, usually a treat! So why wouldn't the dog respond with what she perceives as a 'yes' response, as eventually a yes will result in a much anticipated treat. I wonder if she understands why poker machines can become so addictive to so many people? Because pushing the button will eventually result in a much anticipated motivator, MONEY!
Isn't it ironic, that these trainers are saying its wrong to teach your dog "NO!", however its ok for your dog to say "NO!" to you!! I am not even convinced the dog even understands what it is saying yes or no too, other than being conditioned that a certain response elitists a certain consequence.
This is taking positive parenting to the extreme and transferring it to our dogs. Just look at how most children brought up with this positive parenting behave, children are dictating to and manipulating their parents, because parents are now to afraid to say no to their child, in case it upsets them or hurts their feelings. Yet these same children, continually say "no" to their parents. In many homes these same children are dictating the terms of the parent/child relationship. Parents are becoming servants to their children.. Now it appears these positive-only groups want us to become servants to our dogs.
This is why there is such an epidemic of dogs with anxiety related issues, as many dog owners are now to afraid to set and 'enforce' rules and boundaries for their dogs, as it may hurt their dogs feelings, and they (the dogs owner) would be looked upon as being cruel and abusive for enforcing rules and boundaries. This is not just about not hurting a dogs feelings, this is more about protecting emotionally weak people that feel bad for enforcing rules and saying no to their dog. Therefore better to let the dog make the decisions, about what it does or doesn't want to do.
Why not take the easy way out so we can protect our own emotional insecurities, by falsely claiming it is mentally more healthy for the dog to make its own decisions. Damn, can you imagine how long any social group would survive if they took on the human positive-only approach? Social groups would fall instantly into chaos. This positive-only trainer is saying that her dog is mentally mature enough, and has the reasoning ability to start dictating to her, what it does or does not want to do. Who then controls this relationship? Who is actually going to end up training who?
To state that setting and enforcing rules and boundaries in a way that social groups have instinctively understood for millions of years results in mentally unhealthy or unstable animals is laughable. Animals left to live by their natural instincts live harmoniously in very healthy social groups, and have done so for millions of years. And why is this? Because social rules and boundaries are ENFORCED! The unhealthy social groups I come across in most instances are with those humans that feel that setting and 'enforcing' rules and boundaries is abusive and inhumane and therefore makes them feel bad. And now this trainer is advocating that our dogs should be dictating to us? Not only do we now have very demanding children, but now they want very demanding dogs as well!! I guess we are very lucky that big Pharma has come to our rescue, to help subdue those dogs that have become too demanding and overly anxious.....!