Why are humans the only creatures on Earth that shouldn’t be forced to work?

Whenever I talk to someone about their animals, I generally make them angry. Not because I’m being particularly rude. Not because I degrade them personally for how they act. Not even because what I am saying is wrong.
I offend people because I tell them that what they know has changed. I tell them that what they hold on to is fading. That there is a better way. However, I also tell them that they can be better.
Did you know that any creature can be taught to do any thing? There is no set laws concerning what an animal can do?
We’ve been proving that wrong for thousands of years. “Man can’t fly!” “You can’t go to the moon!” “You can’t build a building over 100 stories!”
Now here’s a new one. “Your pet doesn’t need to be forced to do what you want it to do.”
Even further, “your pet doesn’t have to do what you want it to do.” That makes us mad.
“But it’s MY; horse, dog, monkey…….”
True! By our laws it is your property. There is legal ramifications is someone takes it, but that doesn’t mean it’s only yours. It is also their: horse, dog, monkey…… They have a choice and we should respect that!
Honestly I get it, and I’m not saying that we should never tell them to do anything, or let them make all of their own decisions. What we should do is, BE THE HUMAN!
Many dog trainers will teach you to be the Alpha, the Dominant, the Pack Leader. When all they are saying is, “be a dog” do what dogs do to prove to them that they have to follow you.
Folks, I’m not a dog. I can drive a car, I can figure out algebra, I understand empathy and compassion and respect. I should use this mind I have been gifted with to prove that I can find a better way.
Now I kind of went a little sideways from the point I initially made, but to come back around. I tell people that their animals don’t need to do what we want.
What we should do as people, is get our animals to want to do what we want, so that we don’t have to force them.
Make loading into a trailer a fun thing, so they walk right in.
Make walking by your side so awesome that no matter how many tabbies there are, they stay there.
Be a better person.
Wait! That’s different. Where did that come from?
I’m in church right now, and pastor Bruce is telling me to “Put Love In The Way”
Loving something is not forcing it to obey. Love is not punishment. Love is care and understanding.
Love is teaching, not expecting.
Let’s be better people, not because our pets will work with us better, but because we will work better for the world.


What does punishment work with?

My thoughts for today. Are about punishment. Why it works, how it works,who it works on.

I decided to join another training group on Facebook to try to give some insight to people wear most of the time they’re getting ideas from trainers that use punishment primarily. So the question always comes up, “will it work on my dog?” Or, “Why isn’t it working on my dog?”

I believe there is only three types of dog in this world, and these types are determined by how they respond to outside forces.

Number 1, is the dog that after being scolded, wapped, or pushed. Decides that the outcome of the behavior is unfavorable and stops the behavior

The second is a dog that does not associate the punishment with it’s behavior, but instead defends itself with the tools it’s been given.

The third is a dog who also does not associate the behavior to the unwanted stimulus, but instead shuts down and is now fearful.

When I’m talking about these punishments, I am meaning the best try at adding enough discomfort to entirely disuaded any further attempts of the behavior. Not just a lite slap, or a firm “NO”, or a light push down. In science a true punishment is one that is entirely effective with it’s delivery, there is no need to employ it multiple times, as that could also dilute the effectiveness, and the animal becomes desensitized, much like to many rewards can also disuade new ,or lengthening behavioral attempts.

The problem with this method is, we don’t know how the animal will respond to the use of positive punishment (P+), adding something to get the behavior to lessen or stop completely, until after it’s been employed.

When we understand how inadequate we are at communicating to our pets, and how hard it is for pets to understand complex abstract ideas, we realize how easy it is for the animal to not associate the pain with it’s behavior, but instead to associate it with the deliverer, especially if it had shown the behavior multiple times with absolutely no reprimand before.

Going back to the three types of dogs, the second and third dog will not learn from the punishment, because it doesn’t associate the behavior with the pain and any more attempts to institute these “corrections” will only further tear down the relationship of trust between the dog and owner, or will desensitize the dog to the stimulus. Therefore, in my eyes, punishment only works for one-third of dogs in this world, as two will not stop behavior.

To me that is not a good ratio of success. However, every animal in the world desires something, and wants to know how to get it. Every situation has a behavior that could be shown which would be favorable to both parties. Teaching your animals how to act to get the favorable thing for them is a universal way to facilitate behavioral change in 100% of the subjects involved.

Let me know your thoughts on this matter.



The reason for training

Many times when I pull over in the middle of busy traffic. It’s to talk to someone on the other end of a leash about dog training.  Other times it’s to talk to the dog only.  Sorry, they intrigue me.

When I am talking to the people,  they first bring up his temperment to dogs or other people. The second thing is how well they listen. Now these things are important and if that’s not happening then there is surely some help needed. However,  it’s probably not the help people are thinking they need.

What these owner/dog combos need more than anything is my favorite thing to teach. Enrichment.

Enrichment is the action of improving or enhancing the quality or value of something. Which means, giving your dog something to make its life better.

I’m constantly looking for new toys to make and games to play with my dogs. Why? Because then I become more rewarding to my dog and I get the engagement I need for them to listen to me when I ask something.

“Wait?” You ask. “You get “obedience” from play?”

“Why yes!” I say.  Wanna know why?

Because dogs do things to get things. My dogs do things I say, because I give them things.

I read an article today by the great Denise Fenzi,  ( this article was an inward look at the relationship that we have with our dogs.

What is your relationship with your dog? What reason have you given for your dog to listen to you today?

So back to the reason to train your dog. It’s not to get behavior under control.  It’s to grow a relationship worth having, for the both ends of the leash.

Here me on the radio!

I had the opportunity yesterday to go onto 93.3 “The Rock of the Bluffs” and promote myself, my conference, the dog park association, and a local rescue I work with. (Thanks to all of you as well)

The biggest thing to stick out about the whole experience was being put on the spot to take the DJ’s very dog reactive dog because he wants to get two new boxer puppies and they’re coming home in a week.

Now reactivity can be, (hell is always), a very complicated thing. Especially when you throw humans into the mix. From my experience dogs rarely become super reactive unless we limit their interactions with other dogs. I mean they are born with other dogs! They know from birth that they are extremely fun to be around!

I’ve seen some really reactive dogs calm down before. The example I use to explain the utter fear and frustration they feel is this. What if you were taken by some strange people and dropped in the middle of a small town in India where you had no communication with the outside world, did not know the culture or language, and we’re constantly sent mixed signals by your captors? By this I mean, that they fed you good food, made you a good bed, most of the time playing with you and gave you attention, but sometimes would lash out at you, screaming or maybe smacking you. How on edge would you be? How long would it take you to understand?

Knowing that these people did that, would you be wary of strangers? Ones that haven’t provided anything for you?

I don’t know if that’s the most accurate example for dog-dog reactivity, but it hopefully opens your mind to try and think of a better one.

These animals just want to be safe, and without the correct input, they err on the side of caution and use their tools that they have to keep themselves safe. Fear is a funny thing. Irrational fear may be called that from the outside, but from the creature that has it, it is very real.