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.
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?
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.
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