"There is a Better Way . . . Find it!" | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

“There is a Better Way . . . Find it!”

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Everyone who does it, can sight (what they feel is) a valid reason for using positive (often physical) punishment in their dog training.   Many avenues of dog training still justify their choice of using physical punishment but claiming it is necessary. The truth is everyone that uses physical punishment must absolutely buy into the thought that the punishment is a necessity. Basically we are all dog lovers right? So why would anyone who loves their dog cause anxiety or pain to that dog if they didn’t feel it was 100% necessary. Their instructor has convinced them of this fact and tradition has many people still punishing.

For me the quote “Violence begins where knowledge ends” sums it all up. Most of us wouldn’t train a dog to weave using a baseball bat or a shock collar would we?  Why not? Because we now have the knowledge within us to know how to create understanding in the dog with more peaceful, harmonious and more effective methods. Anyone still using positive punishment in their dog training, be it as seemingly benign as verbally correcting a dog for knocking a bar or using a shock collar to teach a field dog to bring back a bird,  is doing it because they lack the knowledge to teach what they want any way else. To quote Thomas Edison “There is a better way, find it.”

I can say with a great deal of conviction, regardless of what sport I participated in with my dog, positive punishment would not be a part of my training. When I first started agility I was told that all Border Collies needed to be physically corrected if they exited the weave poles before finishing. When I suggested it wasn’t necessary (this was on a dog agility forum back in the early ’90’s) I was told what I was suggesting may work for me because I was an unusually good dog trainer but that the rest of the world must use physical punishment. The fallout of that punishment was that many dogs slowed down as they approached poles 10, 11 & 12 in their weaving. Unnecessary and today (I hope) few if any would collar correct their dog when teaching him to weave.

Whatever you are struggling to teach, if someone suggests the electric shock is practically harmless but necessary, don’t believe them as neither is true. I am encouraging anyone that is reading this to examine all of your training from getting the dog to stop barking at the mailman to teaching a better flank in herding. Are you using reinforcement to the best of your ability? There is a better way, find it!

Ok, to lighten the moment. This video is hysterical, I mean really funny. It is Charlie Murphy, Eddie Murphy’s older brother. It is funny, however it comes with a WARNING. It is filled with very off colour language. I know I get readers of all ages to my blog so I want to post the disclaimer that there are a lot of “F”-bombs” in this clip. The fact that I mention it is some what ironic since I used to have a pretty bad potty mouth myself. It has been some years since I decided to change my own langauge and although I don’t judge others for their dictation, I feel I should warn everyone about this clip.

However the skit itself carries a powerful message that I think needs to be heard. It is funny but pointed. Enjoy.

Today I am grateful for the popularity relationship based dog training.

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