As you all may know, I train my dogs and cat using a clicker and positive reinforcement methods. I do not use positive punishment, which means I do not use corrections or anything that is aversive. I use negative punishment and take good things away from their environment, maybe instead of getting to play a fun game of tug, they get nothing and have to try again or maybe I just eat the piece of string cheese that was going to be their reward. No harm! So what they try again, if they fail and still do not get it, I lower my criteria and set them up for success. If they fail, it is my fault. I pushed to fast, asked for too much, or was working where the distractions were too much for them to handle. I do not resort to torture just because the dog did not sit perfect or stay where he was supposed to. I get over it and we try again later!
Well, sometimes I go to this club here in San Diego (I won’t mention any names, but it is a pretty well known club) where all the trainers are correction based. Well, if you can call them trainers. They usually just tell people to correct, but do not show them how to get the dog to do the behavior right in the first place. The focus is always on what the dog did wrong, not what the dog did right. It seems that they always set the dogs up to fail. Poor training technique if you ask me.
Why do I go there you ask? Well, I go there to use everyone’s dog as a distraction for my dog. I take my clicker, my roast beef or whatever yummy treat I have in my pockets, and a toy (usually a tug or a floppy frisbee that we can play tug with or I can toss). I am sure they all hate me. Anyway, I do the exercises along side everyone that is choking the hell out of their poor dog. I love knowing that my dog does all the exercises and looks happy doing it. He wants to work because it is a positive experience and not because he is afraid he will get a correction like all the other dogs.
My pet peeve is that these correction based clubs have a TON of people in them. There must have been about 50 dogs there. I have my own business and help owners train their dogs using clickers and positive reinforcement and I struggle to get 6 dogs in a class. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE and WHAT GIVES THEM THE RIGHT TO MISTREAT THEIR DOGS??? If they treated their kids that way, everyone would be calling social services. Why would they rather choke, abuse, and punish their dogs than LOVE, Respect, and develop a REAL BOND with their dogs??? I just wanted to YELL at them all to STOP torturing their dogs. I DO NOT GET IT!!!
I know that it all boils down to $$$$. The club is CHEAP, but isn’t the love of your dog worth more than $40 for 6 months or what ever it is. I spend tons of money on my dogs (agility lessons for 2 dogs is not cheap, chiropractic, acupunture, good healthy dog food, real meat for training, bully sticks, and toys). I even bought a new Jeep Liberty because I needed my dogs to be safe in crates in the back.
COME ON PEOPLE, Lets start treating our dogs like part of the family! If you would spend money on your kids, why not on your dogs. They deserve so much more!!!
My dogs are my best friends, they will not be with me forever, and I want them to know that I love and respect them. I would do anything for them!