I have been online doing a lot of social media recently. I thought it would be fun to have debate with trainers utilizing other methods of training. I found them in various online communities and from what I can tell, there are two schools of dog training thought.
In the first camp are the trainers that utilize methods that apply force to the dog. This first camp is made up of shock collar training methods, prong collar methods, and Ceasar Millan disciples and others like me. This camp also, for the most part, believes in dominance theory and that dogs are pack animals. No one in this camp ever got in my face or pushed propaganda at me in their communities.
The second camp is mainly represented by trainers practicing “force-free” training or training that is food-based. They defend and beat you over the head with the term “positive reinforcement”, “abuse”, and “science”. They actually stole the term “positive reinforcement” in order to make any other method not using food therefore “negative reinforcement”. Dog abuse is there threat to make you conform or go home. They use lots of smoke and mirrors, fancy statements, and propaganda to describe and promote their methods. The following are just some of them I came across online:
-They purport to train dogs for real world random encounters by using methods that enable the trainer to never actually touch the dog during the training process, other then petting it. This may be able to address dog obedience training or training a dog to do tricks, however, it has no application in behavior modification training and really covers less than half of the reasons a dog owner goes to a trainer.
-They assert that any force method of training is ABUSE and the people practicing it should be prosecuted and put out of business. They utilize very sensational and aggressive methods to get in people’s faces in order to raise the awareness of their cause.
-They hate Ceasar Millan and constantly accuse him of dog abuse without any actual facts presented.
-They are always asking other trainers, including me, for their certifications and organization affiliations for what is actually an unregulated industry here in the USA. They are very proud of their acronyms and maintain a cottage industry dispensing them.
-They always tout credentials over experience and proven success.
-They say that their methods are science-based. Sounds good and fancy to the unsuspecting dog lover, but its really junk science. These methods are all food-based at their core.
-They say that food is a REWARD for dogs after they use their science on them. It is well known that food is just another LURE (from the dog’s perspective) that triggers their prey drive by sight, sound, smell, and taste. A dog will always repeat the action it was just lured to perform. I see it all the time on the lure course (a 3 acre course with a plastic bag attached to a string) at my facility. Dogs will run the shape of the course even though the lure is not running along the ground. Works just like food. I just add a command when the dog does the desired action. That is how I train my dogs that I hunt with to cover large areas of ground on command.
-They say that dominance theory has long been debunked and that dogs are not pack animals. They always seem to lack sufficient evidence to show this and make such an assertion. That is because it does not exist. They just try to overwhelm you with the Dr.’s acronyms and studies using medical jargon. They produce white papers to support their bunk science. I believe they are all working together supporting this training ideology.
-They believe in spay and neutering at very early ages. This is very bad and has no effect on a dogs eventual behavior actions it will demonstrate (ie. aggression) in the future.
-They deny dog breeding and have no understanding of it. They are very aggressive in speaking against it and stopping it.
-They use human terms and emotions to describe dog behavior.
-They believe it is OK to give a dog human grade drugs, Prozac, for behavior modification.
– They believe obedience training and behavior modification training are one thing and therefore covered by one method. By conflating and confusing these two distinct disciplines, they are trying to appear as if they have a complete training solution for any dog owner and certainly anyone that wants to go into the business of dog training. I agree, obedience training (sit, stay, come) may be able to be taught to a dog using food and never actually touching the dog other than petting, however, behavior modification training always requires the use of some type of “force communication” to be used in the moment (the moment the behavior is starting be acted out) with the dog. I recommend my all-natural behavior modification method for best results over any of the other methods in camp 1.
I think I could keep listing more, however, these are the main themes I saw online. I am going to be elaborating on this industry perspective in future blogs.
In the meantime, be cautious of anyone holding themselves out as a force-free trainer or one that uses food to train with, especially if you are dealing with a dog showing aggressive behavior action towards other dogs or people. You should look deeper into it before parting with your money.