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Dog Training Q&A What Would Jeff Do?

Jul 24, 2018

I travel the world doing hands on seminars with dogs and owners, I also do daily skypes with folks around the world and over and over again, all of the owners at some point have heard the same cut/paste paragraph that at one point they may have believed and is being shared by vets, behaviorists, bloggers, dog trainers, internet warriors and anyone else that is against the concept of saying NO to a dog.

It pretty much goes like this

You should never say NO to your dog, you should never correct your dog for a bad behavior, you should never use any form of punishment with your dog, will destroy your dog, you will ruin the relationship with your dog, you will create a fearful, anxious, nervous and also aggressive dog. Then some wordage about science based and studies and all this other stuff, it literally is word for word the same cut/paste stuff every time.

Well it is a lie, it is false, it is not true, there is no evidence to back it up espcially from the millions of folks who are doing the work daily with dogs stopping uwanted behaviors. The reason I talk about this is so many owners are struggling with dogs, they are struggling with fear, anxiety, reactivity, aggression, the relationship with their dogs has become unbearable in lots of instances. They bought into this concept of never say no or give your dog a conseqence for anything it does you do not like.

So why does it keep getting spread? It sounds good that is why, it sounds all nice from a business perspective, just love the dog and reward it and it will do everything you want it to. Ironically so many of those folks that preach it are going home to their own dogs and doing the opposite, yep, that is common knowledge in our industry, so preach one thing to sound like a savior and to get business but you know it does not work so you have a more balanced approach with your own dogs.

Lots of folks don't like my message or my colleagues message, we are villified and attacked daily online and sometimes in person. That is fine, folks are getting helped by the millions by folks like us with lots of free content avl online to help. Over and over again, we keep hearing from folks that they tried the all positive training (it works great for teaching commands and we do it as well all day long, we use food, toys and verbal praise to train dogs) we use clickers and other verbal markers, it is a great way to train obedience. Unfortunately it does not stop unwanted behaviors and the best way to ruin the relationship between the dog and owner is for a dog to have unwanted behaviors and you can't stop it, no matter how good a dog is at sit/down/place/heel and recall, if you can't stop the dog from jumping on people, from growling at people and the dozens of other bad behaviors that folks are struggling with, its a great way for a dog to be surrendered.

So balance is always key when it comes to training a dog, in our world it is uusally about 90% rewards and 10% punishment, its not a formula but that is how are day seems to go with the dogs we work with and we work with some pretty serious dogs.
Jeff Gellman
Solid K9 Training
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