I have received quite a few calls from distraught dog owners lately; not because of their companions` bad behaviour, but because they have received some disturbing advice from some professionals.
There was advice like: .. If you want your dogs to do what you want, you must use a shock collar … if your dogs recall is bad you must use a shock collar …. you must never praise them … you must not show them any affection … you must put them in a cage when you are not working with them … you must never have them sleeping in your room … you must never allow them on the sofa … you must not allow them to lean against you when you call them back … you must not give them a pat on the head for a job well done … and never ever give them a treat…. and so on.
Yes, you are right, all dogs can be bullied into doing what you want, but you will never have a trusting and balanced relationship with them. You will have dogs who work through fear, with this comes stress, and through stress come physical and metal ailments. All in all not an ideal situation.
I do not know about you, but I would not work for free or even £2.00 an hour, we all need to get a good incentive to do our job. Sometimes a payment is just someone smiling at us, a thank you, a written letter or a hug, but it is a payment none the less. It is this payment that gives us the drive to do more. So this is the same when it comes to working with, and training our dogs, teaching them manners and giving them strong boundaries. We are everything to our dogs … we provide their food .. we provide the roof over their head, and hopefully a good bed to sleep in .. we stimulate them mentally and engage with them in play. If we have a good relationship with our dogs, by treating them right, we will have loyal companions` who want to work with us !!!
So I might put myself out there to be ridiculed, but I stand by my belief. I have 5 happy rescue Border Collies who came with huge behaviour problems, I spend many hours, months and sometimes years rehabilitating them. I trust them .. they trust me. The proof is in the pudding!
I am glad to see that more and more people are more open minded and have become aware of different approaches. This keeps me going and I will never stop to promote positive, and rewarding dog training.