We Have No Right!

August 10, 2014 | By More
Confident Dog

Confident Dog

As a positive reinforcement trainer, I hear this all the time…   “I shouldn’t have to bribe my dog to get him to obey me.”

First of all, positive reinforcement training is not bribing.  When food or toys are used properly in training, they are not given as bribes, but as motivation or rewards for desired behavior.  We also use food or toys as lures for a “hands off” method of guiding dogs through a new behavior.  When a dog moves into position on his own without the aid of handling, pressure, or intimidation, the process is learned faster.  We then work on fading the lure as quickly as possible.  We still reward from time to time, but these rewards soon become less frequent and replaced with “good dog” or some acknowledgement to our dogs for their compliance.

So, for someone unwilling to use treats or toys for lures or rewards, what are they willing to do?

I have found that some owners who don’t want to carry treats around in their pockets, have no problem choking, shocking, yanking, smacking, or yelling at their dog.   Are we expecting too much from our dogs?  Are we in fact, expecting better behavior from them than we are from ourselves?  Do you drop what you are doing and come running every time someone calls you?

Think about this.  Would you get out of bed every day and head off to work without getting paid?  Probably not.  We need motivation… like, a paycheck.  And so do our dogs.

Would you get out of bed every day and go off to work if you received a painful shock if you stayed in bed too long?   You probably would.   Unfortunately,  pain sometimes gets results, so people will continue to use it.  But here’s the thing, if you have a choice of using pain or pleasure to train your dog, why would pain be your choice?  And what about the dogs that do not succumb to pain or force?  The dogs who may reject being mis-handled and who may let you know with a growl or bite when they have had enough abuse?  What about them?

Here is one scenario.   You decide you are not going to put up with this dominant dog* and bring him to be euthanized.  Because you don’t want to have a dog that won’t allow you to bully or hurt him, you will choose to put him to death.  The saddest part about this is that, you have that right.  Yes, we all have that right.

And there is nothing at all, right about that.


*The word dominance describes a relationship.  A dog may show dominance over one dog, yet be submissive to another.  To label a dog as “dominant” because he is not complying with your wishes, is inaccurate.

suggested reading: http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/dog-training-and-the-d-word

Confident Dog





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Category: Behavior, Dog Training Tips, General Interest, Home Page Content, Obedience

Comments (1)

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  1. Hlengiwe says:

    What a joy to watch a working dog work his or her heart out and thus becmoe the happiest, healthiest dog person around! I love the, I’m guessing, Aussie Shepherd’s exquisite leaps (at about 1:30 and towards the end), with his or her’s beauteous ostrich plume of a tail gracefully indicating his or her pleasure. I also enjoyed the petite ones, the delightful boingy-ness!A big part of my pleasure in watching is that you dance along with them and they love it!