I was introduced to Jimmy Buffett hanging out at The Back Eddy in Westport long ago. Loved listening to his music ever since and one of my favorite songs is Fruitcakes. Here is the best line of the song:
“You know I was talking to my friend Desdemona the other day she runs this space station and bake shop down near boomtown. She told me that human beings are flawed individuals. The cosmic bakers took us out of the oven a little too early. And that’s the reason were as crazy as we are and I believe it.”
A little while back I talked about how certain people in the dog training world literally go out of their minds if you ever talk about using negative consequences in dog training. I do get where they are coming from. Dog training for many years was brutal and extremely harsh and even cruel to dogs. Some dog trainers still use outdated, harsh methods and try to “dominate” the dog.
I get it because Human Beings Are Flawed Individuals – including me. I make mistakes when it comes to training (not many, hehe!)
The problem with using negative methods is that it has side effects. If you have a shock collar on your dog and your timing is wrong, your dog is going to get confused. If the stimulation from the collar is high it could negatively affect the dog.
A prong collar overused in a group obedience class will almost always result in dog aggression. So we do have to be EXTREMELY careful when using any form of negative consequence.
BUT – it does NOT mean that we can never use any form of negative in training.
Here is a simple formula to remember. If you want your dog to learn something: sit, down, come, stay, etc. use positive consequences. Loads and loads of positive consequences.
If you want your dog to STOP doing a behavior, learn how to associate the behavior with a negative consequence but this does come with one MAJOR caveat:
The negative consequence should not be associated with you. It should be associated with the behavior.
Positive consequences should be associated with you. All good stuff comes from you which will build trust and confidence and your dog will do great with obedience. All negative consequences should be associated with the behavior.
I show many different ways on how this can be done in my dog training classes. If you want your dog to STOP jumping, barking, chewing and more head on over here NEXT: