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Dog Training Q&A What Would Jeff Do?

Sep 11, 2018

What Would Jeff Do? Dog Training Tip of the Day #173

Imagined harm and negative thinking about things you have never tried.

I have been talking a lot about punishment lately as for some reason not many people are doing and it is such an important part of dog training and the only way to stop an unwanted behavior.

I get a lot comments on my posts in general, in response to my videos where I talk about punishment a typical response from someone who is struggling wtih the concept has this response.

My dog came from a shelter and was abused and I would never do anything to have my dog lose trust in me. I would never punish my dog as that would destroy the relationship with my dog. If I used punishment my dog would be much worse than it is and not trust me.

The issue is that a lot of this is imagined harm and how would you know the outcome of something you have not tried and there is no actual study on punishment other than a bunch of folks who are using opinion or emotionally charged decision making and not the clear evidence that folks who know how to properly use punishment to stop an unwanted behavior are succesfully doing over and over again and not seeing the imagined harm that so any folks are claiming will happen if you use it.

Lots of folks also have the bar set pretty low when it comes to the level of expectation with their dog, and the big thing that determines if the dog is okay is if it fills the emotional needs of the owner. So as long as it does that then it is fine, but they have so many other limitations with the dog that they may not even know exists. Can you take your dog to an outdoor cafe and have your dog lay quietly at your feet while dogs and people walk by? Can you walk down the street and not have your dog pull you around or not be leash reactive at different environmentals.

Can you have your do hang out in a crate for hours at a time with out barking, whining and destroying things? Can you dog exist around different enviromentals and not be reactive? Is your dog not biting humans or dogs? The list goes on and on, and this does not mean your dog cannot struggle or you cannot be struggling, we are all on a journey and I have yet to see a dog that is perfect or even close to it, the point though is that if you are struggling and you are discounting the role of punishment in your training program under the false concept that it will ruin your relationship. You will actually not move as forward as you would like to most likely and you won't be able to stop those unwanted behaviors that you know you need to get rid of .

So many families are struggling because of their dogs unwanted behavior and they just don't need to. The thing that is stopping them is the concept of imagined harm of something that they have not even tried.

The thing is we have as well as so many of my colleagues and we see the results, unfortunately those folks who are not doing, are not able to stop an unwanted behavior.

The cool thing is that so many folks are also commenting that they used to be highly against alot of the training that we do, but after not getting any results or limited results after months or even years they watched a video, tried what was in the video and like magic got better results almost immediately. Then they dive deeper down the rabbit hole of training in a more balanced approach.

It is so good to see so many owners finally empowering themselves to start grasping the concepts of when you want more of something you reward it and less of something you punish it and there is no relationship backlash. It is actually quite the oppostive you start increasing the relationship with your dog better than you though could happen.

Jeff Gellman
Solid K9 Training
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