There is so much information available on dog training via the Internet and books, and there are many trainers from all sides who claim their way is the “correct” way. It’s hard for a pet owner to figure out the right thing to do. In fact, some training methods and tools are the subject of hot debate in the professional dog-training world.
Before that question is answered, let me explain what my own personal definition of dog friendly is. To be dog friendly is to offer your companion dog what they need in terms of food, shelter, exercise, training, and affection. The key words here are “what they need”.
Second, the definition that I have for positive is different than the extremist positive movement in dog training, and you can find this definition in the dictionary. The defintion of postive I use has the meaning “Measured or moving forward or in a direction of increase or progress.” Positive to me is allowing the dog to fulfill their potential and be all that they can be.
Each dog is an individual. As a dog trainer, I have never trained two dogs in the exact same way. The differences may be subtle in some instances, and very obvious in others. Furthermore, as I have witnessed improved relations in dogs who were problems to families, I don’t go by the theory that some trainers share that only the most sedate and friendly of dogs should be pets. Indeed, some dogs are born with a certain drive and high intelligence that may not make them the right pet for most families. However, that same dog might be perfect for another family who wishes to do some very specialized activities. My family for instance is one such family. Finally, in that some negative behaviors in dogs come about from the lack of training and care by their human owners, it is our responsibility to make that right in so far as it is safe and possible to. These experiences, as a professional trainer with the time I have spent socializing and training dogs in shelters, have helped me develop my personal idea of “dog-friendly” and “positive” (the training definition and not the 4 quadrant definition or the extremist positive movement definition).
Many results based dog trainers use some additional tools and methods in their trade. These tools vary from trainer to trainer based on their interests and specializations. There are tools such as the prong collar; metal training collar, nylon slip collar, and electronic collars (talking about those that cause the most controversy, and the least research among some trainers) that are humane and dog -friendly training methods and tools when properly used, under the guidance of a professional trainer. These tools can not only quickly help an owner obedience train their dog quickly and effectively, they can also provide such things as increased freedoms and safety for the dog due to the speed and effectiveness of their obedience training. Freedom, purpose, and increased inclusion with their family is the highest value reward that I can think of (long term).
There are some trainers and even certain professional organizations are folding to the pressure of what is called “purely positive” training. This is a whole different can of worms that I can’t get into in detail at this point. However, this political movement in the dog training world is the belief that EVERY dog can be trained without leash corrections, collar corrections, verbal corrections, body corrections, or any kind of negative or stressful stimulus no matter how slight it may be.
This is the reason that I am highly offended by the hijacking of this term, dog friendly and positive (along with a whole list of definitions that have been changed and manipulated) by parties with only their personal interests in mind. We are all professionals, and we all got into this business because of our love of dogs. I am proud to call myself a results-based, dog-friendly, and definitely positive trainer.
Need your dog trained? Visit the http://www.mannerlymutts.com services page. Or contact me at 207-361-4395 in York Maine. Ask for Robin Rubin, Dog Trainer.
Say no to HSUS, PETA, No Shock Collar Coalition (NSCC) or Truly Dog Friendly Organization (TDF). Articles and information on why I do not support these organizations is on here and here.