What do we need to know if we want to teach our puppies and adult dogs correct behaviour? Part 2

Training methods.do_art

As I wrote in my previous article, every training method rest on our cons
istent, constant behaviour and our selection of accessories we will use to train a dog. Before I move to discuss the three remaining methods which are quite new, I would like to emphasize the importance of the ability to play with a dog along with the ability to use accessories in a proper time and a proper place.

I am not necessarily talking about leashes, collars or pair of braces, as these should only be used from time to time and only at the beginning of training. While using them we should remember that dogs love working for us, however, people do not always understand the meaning behind it and are unable to take advantage of it, even though it is for their own and their dogs’ good.

We teach a dog how to work for us effectively through a proper play, retrieving. The main aim of retrieving is to stimulate the desire for an item and the desire of winning it. This also applies to the ability of feeding and touching. The methods I have already described in my last article and methods which I am going to introduce today are justifiable, however not all of them are effective and powerful and some of them can be easily invalided.

From now on I am going to emphasize the importance of emotional side of dogs’ nature. Dogs are the most empathetic creatures among all leaving animals, and their emotional state depends on us, not the methods we use to train them.

Returning to the subject, I want to describe 3 training methods. One of them is very famous and it is called a clicker method. Other two, for the purpose of this article, I will name “quiet” or “embarrassing”, because they are never being mentioned even though they are being used.

First of these “embarrassing” method is the method that uses electric collars. The aim of this method is to reduce excessive barking or dog’s wandering. It is meant to teach a dog discipline. From my own experience I know that many dogs’ owners and some of the trainers are uncritically using this controversial method.

In my opinion this method is very harmful for a dog’s health and the use of it should be prohibited. Unfortunately some of the shops, especially the internet shops, still earn a lot of money from selling the accessories that are being used while utilizing this method, such as electric collars and fences. I can assure you that I have never used this method of training and I will never do.

During my career as a dog trainer I came across opinions that Polish people along with people from Eastern Europe (former communist countries) treat dogs in an unhuman way by using spiny collars. I do not use of these while training dogs but if somebody asked about my opinion I would say that a spiny collar is far less harmful than an electric collar. Only because we do not see an electric impulse going through the collar, it does not mean that it does not harm a dog.

Another method that is hardly mentioned is a “sexual method”. I do realise that it sounds a little bit disturbing; however I would like to assure you that this method is based on touch of some parts of dog’s body. This is a combination of touching and massaging with a proper pressure of touch in a proper time. It is not allowed to touch dog’s genitals. The parts of the dog’s body that should be taken in to the consideration are: abdomen, groins, skin between fingertips, external and inner parts of ears. A competent use of this technique can improve relationship between us and our dog, it can also stabilize fearful dog’s psyche as well as a dominant.

By criticising well known and commonly used clicker method I will probably meet with disagreement of some dog’s trainers and those who produce and promote this gadget called clicker. In my opinion this method is harmless but it does not improve anything either. I would compare it to the use of placebo. I have been talking to people who had used the clicker method many times. I can recall an incident from the training. A dog ran away from his owner, an older lady, and came over to my dog. Nobody could have caught him. We were both trying to catch her dog for 15 minutes. We were coming closer to him and pulling back using clicker and hoping he would come to us as he was trained. Finally I decided to let my own dog have a run without the leash. Both dogs started to run and play with each other. The only difference between two of them was I had a full control over my dog while the lady could not control hers. When the dogs got tired I called mine and both of them came to me with no clicker being used.

Before I decided to write this article I had watched short videos advertising how to train a dog using the clicker method. I realise that not every dog’s owner using this method will agree with me. However, I am convinced that this method is non-emotional and does not build any bonds between people and dogs. It rather brings to mind fattening geese and in circumstances described above where there are so many factors that can distract our dog, this method simply is not working.

Roman Wolsza

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