Techniques that force a dog through pain (or the elimination of pain when the dog performs - i.e. "I keep yanking this leash until you listen and will stop when you do.") are to be avoided. Science has discovered are couple things that throw older research out the door. 

1)  Dogs are not out to take over the world or dominate us. 

2)  Dogs are not pack animals as humans define it. 

Many of the behaviors we were taught to call dominant are really confusion behaviors or fear behaviors.  The dogs are trying to figure out how to survive with us.  Therefore they do what works in their mind to get what they want.  Feral dogs do not form packs as early researchers assumed based on observing wild wolf packs.  Even early assumptions of wolf pack behaviors have been proven erroneous.  We need to eliminate the old “Alpha,” “Pack Leader,” and similar older theories.

Fear and dislike of things can cause behaviors often labeled “aggressive.”  At some point the dog possibly learned the only way to get something to stop is to respond in ways that make it stop.  When we punish these outbursts, we can worsen the situations.  Even if the physical signs of the behaviors cease, the emotional stress is still building.

Training is building a relationship. You cannot do this through pain and intimidation.

My first job is to relieve stress, build trust in me and alleviate confusion.  My job is to teach you what you need to do to help create what you need from them.

Now is understanding what your dog is both as a dog and as a dog within his breed or assumed type. I cannot make a Border Collie behave like a Basset Hound.  That Golden-Poodle cross will not be Jack Russell Terrier.  What we see in behaviors is a combination of: genetics, the influence of hormones during pregnancy (stress hormones can affect fetal development), early interactions between mother, puppies, and humans and then the work done by the new owner.

Once we understand dogs and how to work with them in a manner that reduces stress, fear, and changes how we respond to dogs, we can work with our dogs in a more effective manner.

My initial training when I was starting out in the early 1980’s was what some call “traditional training.”  This training was based on physically forcing a dog into a position or to listen.  You want Fido to sit, you tell him “sit.” you pull up on the leash and push down on the rump.  Fido lunges at another dog, you follow with a sharp word and a yank on the leash. Since then I have evolved and changed.  I know we do not need pain and fear to train dogs.  Science has shown that!

I am what is called a crossover trainer.  I have crossed over from the old ways to methods based on better research into how animals learn and how to develop a better relationship between dog and human.

To read about the guiding principles of the Pet Professional Guild, click here.

 

West Wind Dog Training