The Unvarnished Truth: Reality and Modern Dog Training

I routinely get people who object to any use of aversive control attempting to claim that it has horrible side effects. They also pump the idea that ‘free shaping’ – waiting until a dog does a behavior and then clicking and treating – is some kind of realistic goal. When I point out that the likely end of a dog that can’t be WP_20141007_001polite is that the end up with a 60% chance of being dead, they simply blame the owners and expect them to live at a dog’s level rather than elevating the dog to live with people – the intended and necessary position for a living, breathing artifact. (We made them. They do not live in nature. They can no longer live in nature. I know that because I have trapped out several feral dog packs. They have a constant mortality rate because life in nature is very nasty.)

So, here’s my rebuttal. It comes from someone who is above reproach as an owner. She exists. She is a real person. She is part of a group of a couple of million people each year who are headed toward a brick wall. Fix the behaviors now and the dog has a 100% chance of staying in the home. Fail to do so and the landfill is waiting. If you wish to argue tools and methods with me, be prepared to solve her problem…now! Otherwise you can peddle your fantasies elsewhere. I work with real people and real dogs. I spent 8 years having loving people like this hand me their animal, tearfully and heartbroken because they knew that a shelter is exactly that. Guess what? They are reviled and demonized as uncaring. Does this sound like an uncaring brute?

“My dog is a shit. I have had her since she was a baby. I basically started to train her the first week she was home. Obviously with zero results, but by week three, (11 weeks old) she was learning to pee outside, sit and shake paws. She was a fast learner I’ll give her that. I signed her up for puppy classes when she turned 12 weeks and it’s been downhill since then. The classes are a total scam. My dog is the most hyper one in the class and she does nothing to help me learn to calm her. I’m in a room with 6-7 other dogs her age and it’s a total zoo in there. All she does is talk about things I could read on line and her little helpers go around trying to guide us through the tricks she’s “teaching us”. But when my dog gets excited,i get the whole “No, no, n9! You’re pulling at her collar! You must never MAKE your dog do something! Always wait for her to do it first!”…ummmm, WHAT?! Isn’t that why I am here ?! To learn to make my dog listen to my command?! Anyway I can’t get my money back, go figure. So I’m forced to sit through this class and hope I can learn something useful. But now I’m facing a new problem, my husband LOATHS this dogs behavior. Says I have until the end of February to have her decently trained or I have to get rid of her. I can’t get rid of her! I’ve come so far and I love this dog so much. I’m reaching out to you and anyone who might help! She’s so bad with jumping up and nipping and now she’s getting big enough to jump over the baby gates we have blocking her from certain parts of the house and able to jump up and grab things from the counter.. she ate my oatmeal muffin today I left in the stove and I just turned around the get a plate. She’s the devil! What should I do?!”

Before you jump to conclusions, ask how long you would live with a 12 week old dog that did this to your child, yourself, or other loved ones? WP_20141007_001How long would you have friends if the puppy did it to them?

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