Again and again, trainers who are committed to positive dog training are asked the following or similar questions:
“Doesn’t that make me a feed distributor?”
Well, isn’t it much more sensible for the dog to be able to work out part of its food than to be served a portion “free” in the morning and evening? Why is there no concern, but is concerned that it could be harmful if the dog is rewarded for good behavior in between?
“But how can I get my dog to respect me without penalties?”
Let’s think back to our school days. Which teachers did we respect? The ones who were fair and friendly! They were clear in their statements and motivated us! That made us feel like we can do it!
It was not the ones we feared for their outbreaks and detention.
You have to earn respect, with people and also with dogs. And the best way to achieve this is to take advantage of the greatest advantage that I have over the dog: a brain that I can use for systematic action. By creating practice situations that are easy for the dog to deal with. By setting boundaries non-violently and simply having fun with my dog!
“Isn’t that laissez-faire education? You have to set limits!”
Yes, setting limits is one of them. But you can also set limits without violence, build them up positively.
“Isn’t that unrealistic? There are always stupid situations in everyday life!”
“Shit happens” is a catchword in America. Yes, there are always stupid situations. But we have to make a clear distinction between well-planned training and things that happen unplanned at once. The better and more thoughtful my training is, the more alternatives I learn myself that I can use with my dog in everyday situations.
“But with some dogs you can’t get any further with treats!”
“I don’t want to run around with food bags all my life.”
Often this argument comes from people who have been on the leash for half a life instead, is that the better alternative?
You don’t have to “run around” with food for the rest of your life, you can find so many ways to encourage the dog to behave well. Reducing the whole thing to feed is unimaginative /images/wink.gif
“Nobody throws sausage tips in the Wolfpack.”
Right! But no dog requires another dog to have a seat, place, stay, leash … and … dogs are not wolves …
“Dogs / wolves do it that way with each other.”
Yes, and dogs also lick their genitals, wallow in fox poop, eat garbage. We don’t copy THAT. Why not? Because we are not dogs. And that’s why we shouldn’t try to do things that dogs do to each other.
“But for my / a really aggressive / a … dog it doesn’t work.”
Behavior that is worthwhile is repeated. This is due to evolution. Let’s make sure that – for us – appropriate dog behavior is worthwhile. Every living being learns according to the laws of learning theory! You can learn how to use them.
“You humanize the dogs.”
None of us want to humanize dogs. Sometimes we choose human examples to better illustrate absurd training techniques.
According to the current state of knowledge, it is undisputed that animals have feelings. Accepting this knowledge and striving for meaningful and needs-based training is not a humanization.
“You don’t need this modern frills (clicker) / we have never used it.”
Yes, and in the past we didn’t need cell phones, cars or television. Time is moving forward and with it the technology and the knowledge. Let us be up to date … and not only with the mobile phone.
“If you have a confident appearance /” personality “, you don’t need treats.”
Nobody likes to work without “pay”, no matter how confident the boss is. Why is it so reprehensible to reward dogs for good behavior, but not to serve meals in the bowl for free? Why not use an amplifier that is so important for many dogs?
And again … positive reinforcement is not limited to the gift of treats!