Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dog Training, A Look Back continued

Water parks with trained dolphins and whales amazing us with flips and tricks became popular. By the late eighties a new model of training hit the dog world.

The ever brilliant Karen Pryor changed the face of dog training and psychology with her ground breaking book, Don’t Shoot The Dog.

In her early workshops, Karen would talk about pondering the problem of training a whale as she sat poolside. What to do; you can’t put a leash or choke chain on a killer whale, always got a big laugh from the audience. Karen showed her video of a goldfish she trained to swim through a hoop. It was jaw dropping. Was there nothing this woman could not train?

Seminars and workshops for dog trainers were at best sporadic; until veterinarian, Ian Dunbar put us on the fast track by organizing the APDT, Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Networking and sharing info became common place in an industry dominated by lone wolves.

Terry Ryan taught us how to make dog training fun with games.

Through organizations like the APDT the science of behavior and training became available to masses of trainers more quickly. A standardized test for certifying trainers began in 2001.

A plethora of scientific trainers can quote quadrants and name behavior maladies.

This century has delivered to our doors the very best dog trainers ever. I say that earnestly. These guys are spectacular in their knowledge.

With all the wonderful trainers and scientific approach to dog training, why do we have more problem dogs than ever? On PBS we see shows with dogs snapping and snarling, out of control.

There is more legislation against dogs because we’re having problems with them. I don’t think that’s the answer, but I want to acknowledge the problem. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I love where dog training is headed. One of my favorite quotes:

    "I am on a peaceful path that creates brilliance through mutual respect and team work rather than imposed leadership and intimidation." ~Susan Garrett

    One of inspiration.

    People are looking for "training" methods that are friendlier and focus more on what the dog should do verses what the dog should not do. Dogs respond brilliantly when encouraged to find the "right" answer verses trying to avoid the wrong answer. Relationships blossom, confidence builds...

    Just my opinion but working in a veterinary clinic I see the "problem" dogs every day. I observe client behaviors with there dogs and am disturbed by the copying of a popular dog trainer exploited on TV. The methods are ineffective and downright dangerous when done by people. I see the dog's anxiety increase exponentially with the intimidation techniques demonstrated. I've seen people try to do things they saw on TV with other peoples dogs in the waiting room... down right scary.

    I think this may be a contributing factor... What do you think?

    Also, many trainers with "positive" claims come out with little experience. It's easy to teach a dog to sit, down and stay with a cookie... what people need though is a confident, socially competent pet that is a pleasure to live with and easy to manage in public... Where do they stray? They can sit though right?

    I think the problems are multi-factoral.

    Fascinated by the thoughts and loving the direction dog training is taking.