After action report from a different philosophy of dog training

Hello from In today’s post I recap some of my takeaways from a training opportunity with a trainer of a different methodology.

I recently had the opportunity to observe some training using methods that I don’t prescribe to. It was a good experience getting to see the other side of the aisle. Although I did learn some things, the biggest takeaway I got was my affirmed belief that treats and toys are unnecessary in the training of dogs.

As you can guess, the method I observed used treats and toys to get the desired behavior from the dog. Let me once again say, we at believe that dogs inherently bond with humans and work for praise and respect from us. Treats and toys are unnecessary.

Ok so with that out of the way, lets talk about what I saw and learned.

Treats were used as a lure. A treat was placed in front of the dog and slightly above their head to get them to sit. After they sit, they got the treat. Next the treat was brought down low to the ground in front of them to get them to down. Once all four legs touched, the treats were placed on the ground (which was pretty smart I thought so the dog would stay on the ground instead of coming towards your hand). After the dog got the hang of luring, then the next step was frustrating them into giving up the desired behavior. The dog would sit and once it didn’t get a reward for that, it would try the next thing, in this case, a down to get the treat. This made for some fired up, spastic dogs.

I actually got to try my hand at luring. I got to work with a black GSD pup and 4 month old Mali. The pup was interested in the treats but the Mali could care less what I had in my hands. At one point, I ran out of treats and the little black pup locked eyes with me and seemed to say, “hey silly, I don’t need treats. I just want to please you and get praise in return.” There are so many other distractions out there that once you run out of treats, the dog has no reason to pay attention to you. I didn’t run out of treats with the Mali but it could care less what I was doing because of all the other distractions. Should I really have to make the dog pay attention to me by becoming more interesting than its environment? And how well does that really work in the real world?

Overall, the dogs I saw that were trained up to the top tier were spastic. They weren’t calm and collected.

Towards the end, I had discussion with decoy about switching and retargeting. He claims that he would love to have a dog to come off bite so he can attempt to gain control of it. He also said that if it gets hit, he just wants it to bite harder with that “full, deep grip bite.” I find this humorous after watching footage of two White House K9s deploying on a noncompliant individual. The first dog was kicked in the face and ran away, the second latched on and took a beating as it was trained to do but got its ass handed to it. I really have trouble believing that is an effective use of a dogs life, to hang on for dear life while it gets its head caved in or stabbed. As for me, I want a dog that is smart enough to see an incoming threat, disengage while causing damage, and acquiring the new target. Then rendering it useless as well. I want my dog coming back from the encounter.

Until next time, respect the bond between you and your dog. Don’t cheapen it.

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