Mark's Dog Blog

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. I personally shake my head in disbelief. This process in my opinion drags training out way too long, doesn't give the dog any intelligence at all, and is based on nothing but illogical human emotion.

When dealing with dangerous behaviours such as intense jumping, it is important that we extinguish the behaviour quickly, not spending days or weeks teaching incompatible behaviours. Teaching a dog not to jump should take a matter minutes if not seconds, not days, weeks or months, because we fear hurting a dogs feelings. This belief is more about not hurting a humans feelings, than worrying about the dogs feelings, and is making modifying behaviours too drawn out for the average family dog owner.

Many trainers blind them self to the fact that social animals have been using an aversive to set rules and boundaries for millions of years. They don't spend time teaching an incompatible behaviour first. I have yet to see any social animal psychologically damaged because another in the group corrected it, without first teaching an incompatible behaviour. Yet a human corrects a dog and immediately we are creating a fearful or aggressive dog. There was one dog training professional in this particular group that stated by correcting a dog for wanting to be social we end up with aggressive reactive dogs fearful of people, and that he is currently working with a number of reactive dogs that became reactive because a trainer used an aversive to stop a social dog from jumping! I mean, seriously? In my 36 years working with dogs, I have yet to see any social dog become reactive aggressive because it was corrected for jumping!

Why is it that so many that are committed to a training ideology that is based purely on emotion, blinded to how social animals act and react instinctively in their own social groups, and have done so for millions of years? Conditioning a dog to 'avoid' a dangerous behaviour is NOT cruel or inhumane if carried out correctly. When a mother in a social group of any social animal, corrects her children, does she first spend time teaching an incompatible behaviour? Of course not, she just indicates what isn't acceptable behaviour.

Get past all the illogical emotional rhetoric, and get back to basics. If a behaviour is dangerous for either the dog or human, it needs to be modified immediately, as quickly possible, and effectively. Not pussy footing around because we fear hurting feelings, human feelings, falsely claiming its about the dogs feelings. Drawing out behaviour modification for weeks and months (if it can be modified quickly) due to illogical emotive reasoning, is placing more and more dogs in shelters, on psychotropic drugs, or having them PTS.

5 pointers for a calm well-balanced puppy
My views on Victoria Stilwells latest blog