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Avoiding Damaging Training Methods

Avoiding Damaging Training Methods

by Beth Ostrowski-Parks, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

   Avoiding Damaging Training Methods! 

It's so sad for me to realize that my clients and other dog owners can easily be subjected to their puppies or dogs suffering rough treatment from other professionals.  There are still some old, and just plain bad dog training methods still being used by people in the fields of pet care.

The biggest problem with this is reality is that people who come into contact with unpleasant experiences from these trainers and professionals think that dog training is just not for them. What happens next is the puppy or dog gets no formal training and that can result in bad consequences as well.

I had a client tell me recently about a trainer in the area who instructed her friend to roll and pin their new mixed breed dog on his back. She was instructed to do this a minimum of two times a day and to stare into the dog's eyes when doing this. Then she was told that she should manipulate the dog's paws and ears quite roughly to get the dog used to being handled.

I frequently get told from others about bringing a less than confident or fearful dog to one of these trainers and the dog gets punished for growling or being afraid of the trainer. The punishment for this (from that trainer) is sharp leash corrections and/or "hanging" which is exactly what it sounds like.

It's not that I've not heard of these methods as these types of exercises are really old "training" concepts, but I just tend to forget that this ancient stuff still goes on! It's out-dated, useless and does nothing to build a good relationship between a dog and his/her owner. It makes me really sad to think how many dogs and owners are subjected to this crazy thinking. How many people end up getting bit from forcing themselves on their dogs? I would like to see this "trainer" take any of my Dobermans and try rolling one of those dogs on his back.   It's just ridiculous! Sure you can get away with this with a smaller breed dog or a puppy perhaps, but why? Just because you can, should you? Think what this does to the confidence of a dog, especially a fearful or shy one?

I once had  a client bring their new aussie pup to the vet for his first vet visit. The puppy was shy and fearful and had some aggression issues but since she was only 12 weeks old, we were going to try to work with her and get her a safe into a good dog day care which would be a safe social environment for the puppy. The owners were thoughtful and even told the vet that there were some issues of aggression towards strangers so they did their part and assumed the vet had their best interest in mind. When the puppy saw the vet, he growled. The vet then grabbed the puppy by the scruff and pinned him on his back. The vet was then bit by the puppy (of course) and the puppy ran under the chair and hid. This made me nauseous. There was no reason at all to do this. This did NOTHING for the puppy except give more reasons to growl at people. The veterinarian also recommended that the new client return the puppy, which they did.

I don't judge the client's decision at all. But I do judge the Veterinarian's methods. What happend to "due no harm".

I love the quote by Abraham Lincoln: "Violence begins where knowledge ends".

If you or anyone you know is being told to do this kind of thing with your puppy or dog, please just say "NO, thank you". You and your dog deserve much better training advice.

Mutual Respect and Trust! That works best! At It's PAWSible! I train my clients and their dogs with that philosophy in mind! I want your dog or puppy to WANT to work with you not be FORCED to do so. I had the opportunity the other day to sit in and watch one of our instructors teach a tricks class and it gave me such a great feeling in my heart to see all the dogs sitting calmly with their owners waiting for their next trick! No one was being yanked by the collar, no one was lunging at other dogs or people and everyone, including each dog, was smiling! It was so great to see!

Training dogs should be fun for both the human and the dog! If it's not, go somewhere else!