Thursday, February 26, 2009

Old Methods = No results

We are asked often for training recommendations, and the majority of time, folks don't want to hear what we have to say. The majority of people who are experiencing behavioral issues with their dogs want quick fixes. They want to send their dog away to "boot camp" for two weeks, and have a different dog come back. They watch "training" television shows and try to implement what they see on television, often with ineffective, and sometimes disastrous, results. They don't want to hear what many of us now know - those old, aggressive, dominant methods of training don't work, and actually cause a dog to have more behavioral issues than he or she started with.

A new year-long study provides some hard evidence that the popular dominance-based methods don't work. The researchers concluded that among "dog owners who use confrontational or aversive methods to train aggressive pets, ... most of these animals will continue to be aggressive unless training techniques are modified." In other words, aggression in, aggression out.

So what counts as aggression? Those old-school methods of jerking, hanging and shocking should easily come to mind as aggression. But what else should be classified as aggressive training? Isn't that alpha roll a good technique - NO. Bullying a dog in any form is considered aggressive, and will make your aggressive dog meaner and your shy dog shyer.

For more resources, check out these links:

Choosing a Trainer, from The Bark Magazine - this is a CRITICAL article to read before you pick a trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Peaceable Paws Dog and Puppy Training - site of Pat Miller, one of the most advanced, knowledgeable trainers working today

Two local trainers that we work with and recommend:

Susan Giordano, K9U
Lennox Gavin, Paws-a-tive Results Dog Training

You owe it to your dog to learn the most up-to-date training methods, and find a trainer who can teach them to you. You wouldn't try to do surgery on yourself after watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy, right? So, why try to heal your dog after watching someone playing a trainer on television.

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