Repeat after me:
“What will you do if my dog misbehaves?”
If my dog jumps up on people, what exactly will you do to stop him? If my dog barks, what will you have me do to quiet her? If my dog pulls on his leash, what exactly will you do to teach him to walk politely?
What. Exactly. Will. You. Do?
This morning a trainer from a successful international dog training company–which I will refer to as “Will Eff Up Your Dog”–was going to be speaking on a local news show. I hadn’t heard of W.E.U.Y.D., so I went to their website.
I read every word they wrote, and yet, I could not tell you how they train dogs. They say they won’t use prong collars or choke collars (that’s good!), but they also say they won’t use food (Will you use magic?). Fascinated (and scared) to know what these guys are doing to pupz across the globe, I took my search to The Google, and discovered that my fears were well founded.
Here are some of the things dog owners say W.E.U.Y.D. trainers have “taught” them to do:
- Growl at dog
- Bark at dog
- Throw a bag of chain links at crate when dog barks (Note: This technique was used for a dog with separation anxiety and scared the crap out of an already terrified pup.)
- Have neighbors throw water balloons at dog
- Spray dog in the face with water
Oh. My. F*cking. Dog!!!!
Dogs learn two ways:
1. By what happens when they do something (Operant Conditioning)
- You say Sit, I Sit, and then you give me CHICKEN? I’m gonna keep putting my butt on the ground when you say Sit!
- The doorbell rings, I bark bark bark bark, I stop barking for a few seconds, and then you give me CHICKEN? Huh. How about that! I stopped barking and THEN I got CHICKEN! Might try that again.
2. By associations (Classical Conditioning)
- You pick up your keys and briefcase and then you LEAVE ME ALONE FOR EIGHT HOURS?!?!? I’m freaking out EVERY TIME you pick up those jinglers and that stupid box-bag.
- Each time that thing you call a “Toof-brush” appears, you give me CHICKEN!!!! Toof-brush is GOOD. Give me more toof-brush!
It’s as simple as that. If trainers do not state very clearly that they will be using food or toys or time-outs or desensitization techniques, then something fishy is going on.
Are you looking for a dog trainer? Here are some great places to start your search:
- Pet Professional Guild (for trainers, behavior consultants, and pet care providers)
- The Academy for Dog Trainers (for trainers, behavior consultants, and pet care providers)
- Malena DeMartini (for certified separation anxiety training consultants)