Dog training – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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I just watched 60 seconds, of a much longer training video, posted on Facebook, wherein a young happy dog is being crate trained by having the crate door slammed every time he tried to leave the crate. 60 seconds is a good long time for me to stick with a video like that, usually, I turn off quicker but I was not 100% sure of what I was looking at.

The world of dog training is a place of polarising opinions on how dogs should be taught different behaviours. Having been a dog lover and pet parent for many years before I had a professional interest in training and behaviour I 100% get how training advice from different dog trainers, youtube clips, Facebook posts etc can be a minefield for dog owners who just need to stop a problem behaviour or who want to teach their dog some basic skills for living with us in our homes.

Rather than rant and rave here about why trainers should teach this way or that way, or employ certain methods for different situations, I am going to target this blog at you, the pet owner and offer some guidelines on what you should be on the lookout for. These 5 points are relevant to whether you are attending a training class, having a 121 session. looking for help online and reading through a book.

Step up and be your dogs best friend. If any of the techniques that your trainer is using makes you feel uncomfortable, ask them to stop straight away. There is no need in this day and age to be dealing with any dog, no matter their issues, in a rough or aggressive manner.

Do not allow anyone, no matter what their job title, to use or sell you a piece of equipment which is designed to cause your dog pain or discomfort. E Collar, prong collars, choke chains, harnesses that restrict limb movement, harnesses that have tiny straps that dig into your dogs underarm area, aerosols that spray your dog with compressed air or make a loud noise. There has been years and years of research done that show there are more human and easier ways to work through any training/behavioural problem that resorting to hurting or scaring your dog.

Always think, if your dog is doing something you do not like, it is your responsibility to teach them what you would like them to do instead. While dogs do not vocalise the way we do, there is always communication and learning going on. Every place you go with your dog is an opportunity to reward them when they behave well and train alternative behaviours when needed.

Do your research. In relation to dog trainers and behaviourists this is a completely unregulated field. Consider the qualifications, courses and associations that your chosen dog trainer/behaviourist is a member of. Ask friends with well-behaved dogs who worked with them and what methods they used at the time. Question your trainer when you contact them, on what methods they employ and what their experience is with the issues you are having with your pet.

Celebrity means nothing. Just because your chosen trainer has been on TV, has written a book, or has a big following on social media, that does not mean they are the best trainer for you and your dog. Like all industries, at various times there are buzz words, trends and personalities that will come and go. Look for those who are working with consistently with dogs, and their owners and helping them bond and work together.

Regardless if you have a new puppy who you want to begin training with, or an older dogs that is dragging your down the road when on lead, or a fearful dog who needs their confidence built up or a reactive dog that needs behavioural modification, working together with your dog, and a good trainer/behaviourist who is using ethical, welfare friendly techniques will be able to help without hurting, scaring or compromising your relationship with your best friend.

Positive dog training provides 121 training and group classes. If you are looking for a trainer in your area and are not sure where to start, feel free to call us on 01 9013018 and we will find you a good, experienced trainer in your area.



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