There is nothing “Zen” about bribing a dog with food!

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There is nothing “Zen” or unique, or special, or beneficial, or even remotely interesting about bribing a dog with food.  Any FOOL can make a dog or pup perform a “watch me” command by sticking a food treat near a dog’s nose and then holding it up to their own eye.  This then causes the pup to look up at the person’s face.  This is the most basic and almost unmentionable start of typical training across the land.  This is exactly the method used by big chain store (but usually low-quality) trainers!

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Trainers that talk about “balance” and “zen” and things of this nature cannot be taken seriously if their main methods are based in excitably stuffing food treats down the pup’s throat!

 

Does this mean you should never use food treats?  No, of course not.  You can use food treats to the advantage of your relationship with your dog occasionally.  But we should NEVER start the foundation of obedience and training and behavior modification with food!!!!!!!   Those that do are treating our domesticated dogs just like a wild animal!  

When the mother and father dog build a relationship based on respect and trust and communication with their pups are they using food treats?  Is the pup’s misbehavior ignored or addressed by the parent dogs or is it constantly “redirected” with food or toys like many bad trainers and bad behaviorists would teach you to do with your pup?  Does the mother dog use a clicker and come equipped with treats and high-pitched praise?

When raising my own pups into adult doghood I used treats.  Shocking to some of you, I know.  Let me clarify…I used treats properly.  As TREATS not as CONSTANTS or NONSTOPS and it was only as an OCCASIONAL Supplement and never based on the behavior.  

Save using treats for behavior for when you want to bribe a wild squirrel at the park to come into your spatial bubble or focus on you.  You can extend your arm and hold out a peanut.  The squirrel will then slowly come over within arm’s reach and take the treat from you.  Congrats!  (Not really – I’m being sarcastic) You just earned a little bit of ill-balanced trust from a wild creature.  I say “ill-balanced” because that is exactly what it is.

Does that squirrel respect you?  Do you really respect and know the language and social cues of the squirrel?  Have you taken the easy way out and just bribed the furry thing to come to you.  Will the squirrel come to you in an emergency?  Will the squirrel only come if there’s food?  Does the squirrel have thousands and thousands and thousands of years of domestication and close partnership living in our homes and working for and with humans?

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Food is a very poor replacement for actual trust and respect and communication!!!!

 

Are you starting to understand why food treats used with dogs and pups can be largely unnecessary except as an occasional supplement  to motivation?

Food treats are an external motivator and have Nothing to do with the internal motivation and intrinsic relationship between you and your dog or pup!  Also if we want calmness and more relaxation in our housedog why are we constantly adding more excitement through treats?!

Beware the over-simplified and extremely dogmatic viewpoint of training and behavior mod. from proponents of “positive only” of “force free” folks…talk about short-sighted imbalanced and unnatural methods that contribute to the terrible rise in dog fear, hyperactivity, and aggression!  Wooooohoooooo

We differ from all those status quo trainer and behaviorists because, unlike them, we know our dogs are socially brilliant and unlike them, we know as we go into the future together we don’t actually want to constantly have to be our dog’s focus point and the answer to every question our dog has.  THIS out-dated concept: where the owner is the constant answer to every problem in the dog’s life leads to excessive bribery with treats  in training methods and the unnatural over-focus on the owner in order for the dog to ignore every natural and social thing that happens to occur in the environment.  This is unnatural and tends to backfire often!  Personally I don’t want to be the answer to everything in my dog’s life…it’s too much work!  The mother dog doesn’t want to be the answer for everything either!  That should be a TEMPORARY position we have until the pup reaches maturity and has more self-control.  Our dogs should look to us for many answers…but not all of them.  They need to learn calmness and self-control so we don’t have to forever be “training” them.  They need to be respectful of our shared society and they need to be TRUSTWORTHY.

Believe us, we know, because we are constantly re-training after so many Tacoma and Seattle dog training companies focus on the frivolous tricks and obedience while sacrificing the more important internal issues at hand.

Here at Alpha and Omega Dog Training we strive to be balanced and this is what yields the tremendous, real results our clients rave about.  

The housedog of the future should be calm enough to NOT have to perform “watch me” or a “focus” command every two seconds and should be trustworthy enough to be left almost unattended, or at least partially ignored and not have to perform a “down stay” or some other frivolous form of obedience training with us keeping a sharp eye on them for ever!!!

Cultivate a real relationship based on respect and trust and calmness and communication and you’ll never regret it!   

-G

Questions?  We love comments and questions.  Keep an eye out for my coming book!  We are shopping publishers very soon!!!!

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Fathom the insanity of a human being who teaches you that you can never disagree with your dog!

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People are nuts.  We are.  If you can’t agree with me that people are nuts please stop reading Now.

For those that can recognize that as humans we are a bit crazy I want to direct your thoughts towards this current crazy time in history.  This interesting time in our lives where we find we have several thousands of professional dog trainers and professional behaviorists that actual teach and want to keep teaching you (as the owner of your dog) that you shouldn’t ever disagree with your dog or pup!  Think about that for a second.

What have we come to?  How has it come to this babying, this coddling, this ridiculously imbalanced and greatly disconnected, poor-excuse for a relationship with our dogs?  How and why do so many pet pros talk dogmatically with 100% absolutism (and quite ferociously toward anyone who might disagree until they are shouted down) about the evil of corrections and that you should never “force” your dog to do anything?  I encourage you to take those questions ponder them honestly and then consider and ask why we also currently have a terrible dog bite record (dogs attacking humans and attacking other dogs) and it’s been steadily increasing for the worse!  I know the two are deeply connected!

 

Don’t just go with the majorities opinion on this topic of disagreeing with your dog vs positive-only and force-free methods.  Please THINK for Yourself and come to your own conclusions.  Examine history, examine the stats, examine the methods of different pro trainers and behaviorists (and especially note and examine their results) and most of all… examine your own dog and the history of dogs and how dogs think and how they experience the world and how dogs communicate and behave.

Then ask yourselves…would the mother dog or father dog constantly bribe their pups with food treats?  Would they constantly attempt to condition them or would they seek to build a healthy relationship based on the dog language and respect and trust and manners (not frivolous tricks and obedience commands)?  Would the parent dogs ever disagree with their young?  Have you as a parent ever had to disagree with your own children?  Was it beneficial in any way?  Did you overdo it or under-do it?

 

What is lacking in our current culture is the balanced approach to disagreeing and so the pathetic “positive-only” dogmatists (who aren’t really that positive in their own lives) scream and shout about how any correction, any disagreement, or forcing your dog or pup to do anything is totally wrong!  Let me tell you outright…this is hogwash and they are wrong!  It’s only wrong to correct or disagree if you are performing it wrong.

Dogs speak through movement, energy, smells, and touching. Most people I meet (and I do this non-stop) are woefully, dreadfully unaware of the intricate and marvelous language of our dogs.  They are woefully unaware because MOST pro behaviorist and trainers are horribly unaware!  The common pro trainer/behaviorist whole premise and approach to training is not beneficial and does NOT prevent behavioral issues from developing!!!

But let’s cut them some slack for a moment.  I don’t want to be too hasty.  Maybe these “professional dog trainers” and “scientific professional behaviorists” haven’t ever see older dogs and how they talk to and deal with younger dogs?  Maybe they haven’t seen the older, balanced dog correct and address the younger imbalanced one?  Maybe these so called “pros” haven’t ever visited a local dog park and observed the dog language?  Maybe they’ve been too long in the library reading about dogs or too long in the laboratory or in the classroom?  Maybe they haven’t had kids of their own or cultivated healthy relationships in their own personal lives?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that anyone who proclaims the “positive-only” approach or acts as a behaviorist and over-charges their clients because they used to work with dolphins is NOT keyed into the amazingly close and wonderfully easy and direct relationship available to us with our domesticated dogs and pups!

They say “Never force a dog to do anything.”  This is horribly bad advice!  I force dogs to do things all the time (and I do it incredibly gently and smoothly) and they end up thanking me for it!  And the owners are also able to soon witness their once terribly behaved aggressive or fearful dogs actually make good decisions.  They see it happen before their very eyes!

One example: I force the nervous dog into social situations and then ask it (in dogspeak) to behave itself (not just do frivolous tricks).  This is the only thing that will change the nervous dog into being social and normal and balanced.

I am a professional because I equip the owners and the dog and get them social extremely quickly all while expanding the dog’s capacity for more and more social situations and all without harsh corrections and without foolishly stuffing food treats down the dog’s throat non-stop and calling it science!  Yes, positive reinforcement is science…it’s OLD science and based on the external motivation of the dog and none of it’s internal drives and motivations!  I’m not even going to bring up the fact that bribing with food is also highly exciting and that over-excitement is the cause of every single behavioral issue any dog faces.  Food treats is not the natural way of parenting.  Bribing with food is how most trainers train WILD animals and that’s fine…but for our domesticated dogs…it’s crap!

Let’s all recognize that many humans are insane and let’s take measured steps to respect their beliefs and opinions, however crazy, but understand it is more than ok to adamantly disagree with their foolishness and to think for ourselves.  Your dogs and pups will thank you!

Seek out the natural ways.  You Can reward your dogs and pups but you Can also disagree with them too and sometimes “force” them into areas of their lives that their fears or aggression would never have taken them before your help!  Stretching the capacity and enlarging the relaxation is the name of the game!  Remember both rewards and corrections should not be the focus…A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP IS THE FOCUS!!!

Questions?  Call us!  And keep an eye out for my coming book…it’s gonna’ be epic!  And balanced with natural techniques and they will, of course, get you the best results you could imagine!  Forget positive or negative reinforcement and focus on being a dog parent.

-G

 

Scientific Dog Behavior Modification or Archaic Dogmatism Touted by the Masses???

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Do you have dog behavioral issues you are dealing with?  Many do and that stems in part from a large failure on the part of the dog training world as a whole.  Let me explain.

I spend almost every day of my life behaviorally rehabilitating dogs with real issues such as aggression, fear, hyperactivity, and severe anxiety and that’s just to name a few.  I do this with fantastic success.  I do not do this with the methods most of the trainers and behaviorist tout as the best or newest “scientific” method for animal training or behavioral modification!

Science is ever changing.  Science is also sometimes wrong and yet often accepted as the best way or the right way until the newer or better invention or discovery comes along and makes the old one look archaic and obsolete.  Did you know most people living prior to the 1600s believed that the sun rotated around the earth and not the other way round?  We now know thanks to guys like Copernicus and Galileo that our solar system is heliocentric and not geocentric.  The fact remains that for hundreds, possibly thousands of years mankind believed the earth was the center of the universe!  Turns out they were dead wrong.

Real science should be about seeking the truth, testing the method with trials and experiments.  The results should speak for themselves!   The truth needs no defense!

When considering dogs, their training, and their rich history partnering with us- isn’t it unfair to classify them with other animals?  Shouldn’t we consider domestication and the effects it would have on behavior?  Shouldn’t we look deeper into the social bonds between man and dog?  No other animal in the world lives as closely to man as our dogs do.

Delve a little deeper. Be specific about the animal you are working with. Don’t ever train your dog like you would your dolphin!

In today’s “modern” dog training many behaviorists have taken the scientific work of Burrhus F. Skinner and blown it way out of proportion.  This is the major problem with almost all training companies.  They think there are only two ways to work with a dog!  Typical trainers cite Skinner’s work as the, “end all-be all” of animal training.  Believe me, they get extremely dogmatic and close-minded about any other methods which is exactly the opposite of real science!  I’m not saying animals don’t prefer “positive reinforcement” to “negative reinforcement.”  I’ll readily admit you can train many different animals using both positive or negative reinforcement.  And, obviously, any being would prefer treats to electric shock.

Burrhus Frederick Skinner himself is quoted as saying, “The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.”  This means stop excessive bribery and constant high pitched praise for any and all decent behaviors from your dogs…it’s too much!  The trainers and behaviorists have gone way too far!  They have combined what Burrhus discovered with the idea that they can make a lot of money selling treats to consumers to the point that most trainers are now so far gone they spend a majority of their time stuffing treats down the poor dogs throat instead of using calmness, firmness and play to work with your dog like mother nature teaches!

Are you bribing instead of building a strong relationship with your dog or pup?  Are you exciting instead of calming them down like mother nature teaches her young?  Is the trainer or behaviorist you are using getting you excellent results or are they just another cookie-cutter zombie who have no answers when the treats and excitement do not work?

Here’s a rat in a “Skinner box”…I’ll take real life over a box any day of the week and I’ll rehab your dog’s behavior faster than B.F. Skinner could have dreamed! And I’ll do it all with calmness and building a healthy relationship based on mother nature’s ways!

 

What I’m attempting to share with you is that there is something Better than positive or negative reinforcement! There is something much better!  This something can only be discovered when we really seek to understand and learn.  Dogs have been domesticated for 10,000 – 20,000 years and we should be seeking a much deeper relationship than what some scientist cooked up in his lab.  Most dog professionals have missed the whole point!  Our society needs to have an awakening and discover that dogs are more than lab rats.  

Real life is more than just science.  It was recently Valentine’s day.  Did any of you give your sweethearts a card filled with the science of how your brain releases more oxytocin into your body when they are around?  Did you mention how your cortisol levels are on the rise?  Did you mention how your testosterone is lowered if you’re a man and raised if you’re a female?  Did you get all technical and then proceed to make said “science” the main point of your relationship and hammer that home over and over to prove you are in love?  NO – you didn’t.

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A wise lover doesn’t get too technical when wooing. Let the senses and instinct take over in your training and get all the “science” out of your head. This will be hard for you to do because it has been hammered home so much by the status quo.

 

Please don’t make the same mistake if you’re a trainer or behaviorist!  If you’re not a trainer or behaviorist please don’t hire a trainer/behaviorist who consistently makes the same mistakes in their training methods year after year after year!  Search out something better.

Focus and develop a real relationship (not based on “positive” bribery or “negative” punishment). Emulate the model of parent dogs with pups.  Please don’t diminish the excellent relationship available to you and your dog (the real communication, the use of energy control, the amazing domestic partnership) just because science told you there is only two ways to work with your dog or pup.  There is a whole new world of possibility open to us when we take a real look at real life with our dogs!

Stop focusing on “science” and the status quo and start focusing on your dog.  Forget training.  Instead look at how dogs move, how dogs are experiencing the world. Take note of when the behavioral issue is occurring and attempt to do something before the unsocial or rude behaviors happen.  If you do I promise you’ll start to see how and when to interrupt or intercept unsocial energy.  You’ll prevent problems just like the mother or father dog can.  You’ll learn how to adjust the dog’s body posture into more peaceful, social language.  You’ll discover they are not just rats in a Skinner box waiting to be bribed with treats or punished and shocked!  You may just find a real relationship with complex communication and… you may just find your best friend!

Need Help?   call Garrett Stevens at 253-653-4890