Training methods are a controversial subject; most trainers are stead fast in what they believe.  I don't know how many discussions I've been in with trainers of the "other" kind over the years but it's been a lot.  I know of several big conventional trainers in my area; people often ask if I've heard of them and what do I think?

 Conventional vs positive. Conventional training being that which uses collar corrections to stop an uwanted behavior..............been there done that.  I am not proud of giving collar corrections but I sure am glad that I have that experience to back up my choice of being a positive trainer now.  I've been attacked for saying that I do not and will not collar corrections; but these folks don't know where I come from and don't have the knowledge to attack so they should just stick to their training and mind their own business. 

There are many conventional trainers out there and when and if they are ever ready to come over to the "light" side then we will welcome them with open arms. I have to say that I have met many a crossover trainer. I am a crossover trainer; someone who started out using conventional methods and crossed over to the positive methods of training. But I have never in all my years met someone who started out training positive and crossed over to the dark side.

Being a positive trainer takes more thought; time spent looking at the big picture and not just the immediate instant gratification of conventional training. Timing is important in conventional training but it all comes down to that correction. Often when I am working with a dog they may become confused which can lead to frustration, frustration often leads to shutdown. So to avoid confusion you break a behavior down into baby steps, thus allowing a dog to achieve at much smaller intervals. By breaking a behavior down there is much less chance of a complete shutdown.

I am proud to say I am a positive trainer; positive meaning I will not use pain or fear to elicite a certain behavior from a dog. I should perhaps say that I am a feedback trainer; I believe that feedback is the biggest and most important tool in training or behavior modification. Training and working with dogs is not always a bed of roses; and this is where patience plays a huge part. Being patient and working through the hard times and the bad times is where the evolution stems.

The more one learns about true canine natural behavior; the easier it is to understand and modify it. Body language plays a huge role in behavior modification; both in the canine and the human. Ignoring the importance of using your body in behavior modification is like taking an olympic runners NIKE's from him. Dogs use infinitesimal movements to portray a message; we can do the same if we take the time to learn. Real behavior modification using positive methods of training takes a great deal of education to achieve; but once you have accomplished the education it is amazingly clear. Once you've got it; you've got it. Our dogs are totally worth the effort.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sherri,

    Body language is so important in "talking" to your dog.

    In class one day, during Hawks and my first summer together, we were working on recall. Hawk was breaking and coming to me before the command. Teacher says to class "do you see what she's doing"? Class doesn't. I was leaning slightly forward just before saying the command. I wasn't even aware I was doing it.

    That's why I tell people they need to take their dogs to obedience school. It's not to train the dog so much as to correct your own "bad habits".

    Most of the time I find the dog isn't disobedient, he's reading me and I'm misleading him.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog


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