Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Magical Thinking In Dog Training

"No one method works for EVERY dog. This applies for all training techniques, including positive-only. It is foolish to believe otherwise, because every dog is different and requires a custom approach."

Hmm, I think the issues and the animal are being confused here.  All dogs are basically the same.  Their issues maybe different, but they all learn the same way, they all desire survival over death, they all need to eat and drink and breathe. 
I remember a force trainer who I had to work with as co-trainer a few years back calling for a meeting between the 3 trainers in this endeavor. The purpose for this meeting for him was to insist that using his forceful methods would be overlooked by the two of us who used force free methods. His approach however was "How do we teach sit?". The other trainer and I both insisted that there were many ways to do it and even named a few. But he kept insisting on getting this question answered until I finally asked him what his point was. And he said "then you don't mind if I use force?".

So saying with one hand that all dogs are different and require different approaches and on the other hand teaching sit with only one method is showing me that magical thinking, convenience and most likely laziness are at play. 

Too many times I've heard the above quote from those who insist on using "corrections" and tools that are designed to create pain or at least discomfort. But when given three scenarios of dogs with different issues and asked to provide three different approaches to these issues, they can't, they can only use their tools that they think they understand.  The resort to correcting everything, no matter what the cause of the behavior is, refuse to consider that anything else could work and follow only those who are as narrow minded as they are.