Thy Name Is “Guilt”–the Dog Training Industry

Yes. I’m sitting on command at a dog beach with 30 dogs flying around.
Yes, my owner is holding the leash as I learn not to leap at other dogs.

I’m mired in guilt  I’d love to hear from other dog owners struggling with the same guilt.

Here’s some dog training advice:

Don’t train the dog when you’re cranky.
Train the dog twice a day whether you feel like it or not.
Give the dog treats.
Don’t give the dog treats.
Fade the treats quickly.
Fade the treats slowly.
Use a clicker.
Use a marker word. You might forget your clicker.
Don’t use a training collar. They hurt the dog.
Use a training collar. They don’t hurt. {I can attest that training prongs do NOT hurt. I tested them on bare skin on myself and a friend. There’s only a sense of pressure akin to squeezing your hand. We did not wear extra fur coats to test the theory}
Dogs are pack animals.
Dogs are not pack animals.
Dogs live in a hierarchy.
Dogs are communal.
Be your dog’s friend.
Be your dog’s parent.
Be your dog’s leader.
Use this toy/treat/device/system that costs hundreds/thousands of dollars to train/exercise your dog.

That’s just a small portion of the contradictory advice given by professional dog trainers. The scary part is how many of them can’t train their own dogs and in some cases, don’t even own one. Or they have hundreds of videos training their own dogs–often easy-to-manage breeds and often brought home as puppies. Those that rehab dangerous/difficult dogs often won’t videotape how they succeeded in saving the dog’s life because the PETA nuts would rather kill dogs than see them uncomfortable for a few weeks while they learn to behave in civilized society. Just look at the Caesar Milan uproar.

The so-called “science of dog training” is often a myth. Dozens of so-called scientific dog behaviour studies under hard questioning fall apart or are so limited in focus group and lack of owner involvement as to be patently useless to the average dog owner. Some of them, on greater inspection, turn out to be entirely fictional.

The advice handed out is often so overly complicated as to be useless to us common folk.

Most people don’t want to ring train a “heel” for six weeks. They want to take the dog potty today without getting their shoulder ripped out of the socket three times in the next 24 hours. They don’t have time to grab the clicker, fish cookies and look online for days to wade through buckets of conflicting advice when the dog is nipping the children NOW.

The dog needs exercise today or the owner can’t train it because its too hyper. However, New Dog can’t “come” consistently, yet. It’s dragging the owner to the local park. They don’t own a swimming pool or a pack of dogs to run its energy down. The local dog park might be miles away. What to do?

These are the questions that average dog owners go through every day.

So, I’m committing to a small project.

I am going to ASK dog owners that I see with well-behaved dogs–how they did it. I want to see the dog come on command in a distracting environment. I want to see the dog off lead. I want to see the dog not pulling on the lead.

If it’s a service dog–I want to question the owner as to how they maintain the training and what agency trained it in the first place.

If it’s a harder to train breed of dog or an adult rescue then we can be doubly wowed dear guilt-ridden dog owner friend, in this journey of dog discovery.

Whenever I find a well-behaved dog, I’m going to ask the people how they did it. Since most people love giving dog advice, I’m hoping they’ll answer.

I’m not looking for dog trainers–I’m looking for average owners. If I had a video camera I’d tape it, the dogs in live action, mistakes, slow “comes” and all.

I’m not believing anything online because it’s overwhelmed with people shilling their own favourite style of dog training.

Then I’ll keep track on this blog.

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4 thoughts on “Thy Name Is “Guilt”–the Dog Training Industry

  1. Funniest thing I ever did to teach my Collie not to bite me was to make him sit, and I bit him hard on the ear….not hard enough to harm him, but hard enough that he yelped, more out of surprise than anything….funny, but it worked, he never bit anyone again!! Unless he thought one of us was in danger….he was an awesome dog….it’s a funny story, but true!!

    • I had a rescue dog fear biter.

      My ex finally got fed up with being bitten and bit her back on the ear.

      Same response. She never bit anyone again. Mind you, to be fair I put a LOT of work into that dog and she turned out to be a sweetheart.

      Sometimes I wonder if our instincts aren’t as correct just as often as our learned knowledge.

  2. Thank you a lot for sharing this with all people you actually realize what you’re talking approximately! Bookmarked. Please also discuss with my web site =). We can have a hyperlink alternate arrangement among us

    • Thanks for answering. Sorry I’m a bit lost on the hyperlink stuff. I had to bail you out of the spam filter.

      The last time I blogged was for pay and the site owner took care of the details *lol*.

      More ways on how to make dog treats? That sounds interesting!

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