The Best Method of Training Article by Michael E. Pinksten
In the beginning, would be trainers observed dogs in a pack. They recognized there was an Alpha dog that controlled the others by his behavior. He would stare, growl, nip, and bite, whatever it took to get them to do what he wanted. The mother dog with her young physically communicates to them what she wants. She prepares them for the world they live in, the physical world, the canine world.
Dogs communicate with each other by physical means, jumping, nipping, and biting. etc., whether they are playing, or vying for rank in the pack. They do not have long conversations, ask a favor, pray for divine intervention, and hope for a better future. They live in the now, not in the past, or the future. If we are to be successful with our dogs, we must learn to communicate with them in a way they can understand: the canine way.
With dogs, for every action there is a consequence. If you watch your dogs playing together, you can easily see how they go at each other. If there is one ball and two dogs, one of them is going to dominate the other for it. There is no equality in dogdom. One is dominant, and the other is subordinate. This is the natural way of dogs. Who are we to argue with Mother Nature? Only by understanding them can we achieve success with our dogs, because they certainly cannot understand the way of humans. Dogs know they are dogs, and do not think they are human, but people often times think their dogs are human.
Successful communication with our canine friends is achieved through consequence methods of training. For every action from our dog, there is a reaction from us. If the dog is doing it right, we praise them. If they are wrong, we correct them. This is the basis of consequence training. A dog does not know about the dangers of cars, he must be restrained with a lead and collar when out on the street, or he could get hit. This is common sense. So is correcting him for pulling on the leash, jumping on people or furniture, stealing food off the table, running out an open door, etc. Owners have a responsibility to keep their dog safe, so consequence training is the natural way dogs learn. They've been learning this way for thousands of years. Doesn't it make sense to observe and respect the laws of nature?
You must have heard about positive only methods of training, where you ignore the dog’s bad behavior, and praise the good, so that he wants to do the right thing! That's like the President coming on the news and announcing to all law enforcement agencies that no one is to be arrested for committing a crime. And if criminals do a good deed, they are to be praised. In this way they will see it is better to be nice. Within hours the country would be in chaos!
Have you ever observed a pack of dogs running together? The pack follows the alpha dog every where he goes, no lead attached. When they tip over a barrel and find food, he doesn't even share any of it till he is satisfied. Why then do they follow him, and obey him? Respect! They recognize him as the leader, and naturally follow, because dogs are pack animals. If you want your dog to listen to you, he must respect you. He must recognize you as his leader. You have to be an alpha dog to him.
No one buys a dog to boss around and be a drill sergeant to. We all got our dogs because, as humans, we are capable of giving love to others, and want companionship in our lives. As a good dog owner, you must find the right balance of love and respect, to gain control over your dog, and be able to enjoy the pleasure of owning a dog, and not suffer through the problems. By using the natural method of training, you will have a predictable and reliable dog who will give you years of enjoyment.
One of my favorite sayings is “People have the opinions, but the dogs have the facts.” Learn from our dogs, and use the natural method of training. All the top trainers in the world understand the use of praise, correction, reward, and how to balance it all with their dogs. I could go on indefinitely explaining how important it is to develop your skill and ability to train and understand how to apply these principles to your dogs, but the best way is to find a trainer who understands the traditional, natural, time honored, consequence method of training. When you go to get your car serviced, if one stall has a 1x3ft Sears craftsman toolbox, and the other has a wall sized Snap-on tool case with every tool imaginable, which one are you going to feel better about having your car fixed in? This holds true about training your dog. A trainer should have and be able to use all kinds of equipment, depending on the dog he is training, and the problems the dog may have. He should have several tools, such as choke chains, prongs, buckle collars, 4 and 6ft leads, 15 and 30 foot long lines, electronic remote collars, food treat pouches, balls, and play toys for motivational work. When a trainer says he doesn't use or believe in this collar or that, how can he possibly train all kinds of dogs? If his equipment is limited, so is he, and that is not the person you want to train with. What if your dog doesn't fit in to his limited program? How can he possibly help you? Instead of looking for gimmicks, and trying to make people feel warm and fuzzy, the expert considers the dog's needs first. And if you love your dog as much as you say, then you will put his needs first, not yours, and go with a trainer who respects the laws of nature, and trains in a way your dog can understand, the canine way.