There is a great deal of discussion and some controversy lately regarding using shock and prong collars to train dogs. I would like to put in my two “sense” for what it is worth.
The reason I don’t train with corrections is as follows:
1. I get mad easily – or used to get mad easily. So I don’t use corrections anymore because it is too easy to go to far and correct the dog a little to hard. Eliminate using corrections and you stop the chance of making errors and damaging a dog’s neck or mental state.
Mostly my anger was due to my ineptness at the time as a dog trainer training my own dogs. When you are insecure (which most people are to some degree), there is always the chance that frustration and anger will enter the training picture where it has no place. Even the professional trainers who use corrections say this. When you get angry at your dog it is not your dog you are actually angry at – it is yourself. This is basic psychology and I have a blog post already written on this subject.
2. In order to truly understand how you can train a dog without corrections you must make a change in yourself. You must hold back any anger or other emotion shown to a dog. To do this well and properly one will find it necessary to examine one’s emotional state and find out WHY the anger keeps coming. This leads to the third and most important reason why corrections should not be used.
3. Most dogs will develop some other behaviour issue because corrections were used improperly on them by a person inexperienced with training dogs or one who misunderstands how the method works. Unfortunately this is most people. Education on how to properly and humanely work with a dog is not part of the requirements when a person gets a dog.
I will now present many examples of how dog behaviour can be changed negatively with corrections and positively without.
My 1st dog was a rescue – came with major behaviour issues from improper socialization, being corrected. This dog had fear aggression.
2nd dog – a 4 1/2 mo old puppy with no behaviour issues
3rd dog – came with fear of hearing her name in a louder tone and the “f” word
4th dog – came to me as a 9 week old puppy and trained by me without corrections. He was the most confident/well trained happy dog I have ever had or seen.
5th dog – 8 week old Kuvasz puppy with no fear issues.
6th dog – acquired from client when she couldn’t look after the dog any more. This dog piddled every time you tried to pet the dog and ducked if you were carrying a long object like a broom. It took us 6 months to eliminate the piddling.
7th dog – purebred 4 year old dog with crippling fear of riding in vehicles, froze when he heard any raised voices for any reason.
8th dog – purebred 2 year old with a fear of being too close to a person or going through doors before you (three guesses why).
It seems that most adult dogs that are re-homed have fear issues due to corrections they were given. Most of these corrections were likely not understood at the time to create fearful dogs but that is what happened.
Because people cannot be made to take education courses on training before they obtain a dog, corrections should not be used at all with any dog because you don’t know if they are being applied correctly and whether or not they will cause a negative behaviour to develop.
Just stick to the clicker/reward marker training.