Okay, that’s a lie. it’s not a breaking story, it’s not even news to people who have actually taken a few minutes to think about things. But, to some people, what I’m about to say is downright scandalous! Ready?
There are no bad training methods or tools.
Say what now?
Yeah, you will go onto the Internet and your will read scathing reviews Of Everything.
- Choke Chains – how could you be so cruel?!
- Electronic collars – you are abusing your dog!?
- Give treats?! your dog will never listen to you without treats.
- Don’t give treats?! your losing out on bonding opportunities and making happy connections with your dogs/puppies!?
- Clicker training!?! what, so you don’t have a Clicker then they won’t do anything?!
- Extend-o-leashes – you have no control, you are a horrible person!
- No-pull harnesses – your forcing them to strain.
- Gentle-leader-type head collar – you are going to sprain your dogs neck and no dog ever likes them, at best they tolerate them.
- Pulling harnesses – not enough control, someone will get hurt!
ugh. everybody just calm down. say it with me now,
“There are no bad training methods or tools!”
There are pluses and minuses to ALL types of training and tools. For the love of all that is good in this world, please remember that tools in the wrong hands are, at best useless and at worst, dangerous.
Random non-dog example: I recently had a co-worker express concern about providing promotional screwdrivers because they didn’t “have a cover”. She claimed she thought they were a weapon and she could too easily stab someone. I really feel this said a lot more about my co-worker than the small screwdriver, but I digress – in her hands that screwdriver was a tool of pain and strife whereas to the rest of us, it was a handy little screwdriver.
So, here are my thoughts!
- Choke Chains – one of the handiest collars for a dog that loves to get dirty, go swimming, and needs a lot of baths – it washes right along with the dog. Make sure it fits well, make sure it isn’t ever used to “choke” the dog, and make sure you are using it correctly. Keep working with your dog.
- Electronic collars – for some dogs and owners an e-collar solves everything. Usually when the human and the dog have trouble understanding each other or for field hunting work. Most of the time the electrical stimulation is very low or set to vibration. That said, you can really fuck this up if you do it wrong. Basically, learn as much as you can about the collar, practice on yourself, and if it works for you and your dog, great! if not, great! it’s a tool. Keep working with your dog.
- Give treats?! some dogs *need* to build a happy joy love bond and they are driven by their bellies. If your worried, slowly wean them down while increasing demands. the best training when it’s fun for you and your dogs. Keep working with your dog.
- Don’t give treats?! some dogs live to please their humans and while a piece of liver is keen, they would rather feel the joy from you as a reward. It’s okay to not give treats during training. it’s okay to give treats during training. the most important part?! that you are *doing* things with your dogs! Keep working with your dog.
- Clicker training!?! I have a rather personal grudge against anti-clicker training people–I spent YEARS not understanding that clicker training is FUN! I was told you can do clicker training or not, but you can’t do it only once in a while. Lies. that is a flat out lie. Clicker training is super fun and helps dogs grasp exactly what you are looking for, but you don’t ALWAYS have to have a clicker. it’s just another fun tool to keep things interesting. Keep working with your dog.
- Extend-o-leashes – Holy crap, if there is one thing that the poor people who work at vet clinics and pet stores hate, it’s extending leashes. I can’t blame them, they see them being used in the worst ways. Sure, let your dog be in total control in a large pet store! what could go wrong? Such was the hatred for extend-o-leashes that I bought one super stealthily online and told no-one. I wanted it so that I could let my dog go outside in mid winter in the Midwest while I stayed inside. Which was perfectly FINE. If you love your super long leash, awesome! use it safely. If you need to be in tight control of the dog, use a different leash or lock it short. If you need the dog to be able to go 30 feet but still be connected to you? you are using the correct tool. Keep working with your dog.
- No-pull harnesses – read about them, use it wisely. Ensure dog is wearing the correct size and safe. Keep working with your dog.
- Gentle-leader-type head collar – if you have a dog that you are finding hard to walk on a leash, slowly introduce the head-collar, and give it a try. It is so much better to have a dog be able to go for a walk then to have them stuck at home and never leave because you can’t control him. Keep working with your dog.
- Pulling harnesses – If you can use it safely and it works for you, rock on! To each their own, and keep working with your dog!
So, I don’t know if my ultimate message has made it through, but it boils down to this: whether you have a 200lb behemoth or a 2lb danger-floof, the more you interact and do things with your dog, the happier you both will be, so remember to keep working with your dog!
Also, no-one out there knows everything, so take that into consideration as you are finding your way. While it is always easy to think of someone else’s way/method/tool as being the wrong way/method/tool, before you make any final judgements about anything, spend some time and think about it and see if maybe you should try it.
And always, keep working with your dog!