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Avoiding Damaging Training Methods

It's so sad to realize that with all of the knowlege available and certified dog trainers out in the world that there are still some old, and just plain bad dog training methods still being used on pet dogs everywhere.

The biggest problem with this is that people who come into contact with unpleasant experiences from these trainers 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.

Recently a client told me about a training center and trainer in the area who is instructing her friend to roll and pin their new mixed-breed dog. 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. People frequently tell me about their experiences bringing less-than-confident or fearful dogs to trainers who punish the dog for growling or being afraid of the them. The punishment for this (from that trainer) is sharp leash corrections and/or "hanging" which is exactly what it sounds like.

WOW! It's not that I've not heard of these methods beofre.  These types of
exercises are still popular on the internet and by some old style dog trainers.   However, our training is so kind that 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 my adult, 80 pound Doberman and try rolling him on his back and staring into his eyes. It's just ridiculous! Sure you can get away with this with a Shih Tzu or a Lab 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?

More recently, I 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 into Daycamp, 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 threw 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--also sad as this could potentially have been fixed with good training!

I don't judge the client's decision at all. But I do ju
dge the veterinarian's methods. What happened to "do 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! we train with that philosophy in mind. Our goal is for your dog or puppy to WANT to work with you, not be FORCED to do so.  I love watching our class participants and seeing the dogs and people having so much fun.  That is a rewarding sight to see! 

Training dogs should be fun for both the human and the dog!  If you're in a class somewhere else and you're not BOTH having fun, come to It's PAWSible!