🎉 Congratulations – you’ve produced a training outcome with your dog that you’re happy with.
🐕 The truth is that for the most part, most dogs will learn basic things pretty well in most training programs.
🧠 After all, the ability of the dog to adapt and learn in the human world is perhaps the main reason for the prevalence of dogs in our communities.
👎 This means that even shitty quality training and instruction can produce a result many folks will consider adequate for their pet dog.
💭 There’s a difference here though – predominantly relying on the dogs ability to work something out doesn’t mean that your training practice is good.
👍 Good quality training involves teaching something to your dog in pieces that reach it optimally, and allow it to understand exactly what you want with minimal friction or conflict for the dog.
👀 Let’s look at an example:
🤔 You believe that in order to get your dog to sit you need to “be dominant” over your dog.
🐶 Your practice is based in applying a hierarchical model of dominance in order to get your dog to do, or not do, certain things – in this case, it’s executing a sit.
🤷♂️ Perhaps your dog works this out, and now sits well. It’s an outcome you’re happy with.
🚫 This does NOT mean that your dog learned this skill for the reason that you think it did.
🧠 Consider this analogy: You’re building a brick house.
🧱 You believe that tiny aliens live in cement – when you wet the cement they come alive, and that when those aliens grip the bricks either side of the cement to hold them in place. When the cement dries, the aliens are trapped in that state, and the structure stays together in that way.
🏠 The house will get built – and may even be a very sound structure.
🚫 That doesn’t mean that you were correct in your understanding of how that process took place.
⚖️ That doesn’t mean that on the next house you build you’ll have the same success, should some of the factors with the build change.
📚 Whilst maintaining that ill-informed perspective, you’re not well placed to offer your alien-cement information to others undertaking the same building task.
⚠️ In fact, it may even be very dangerous for you to do so as it could place others at a disadvantage in their project, or worse still place them in danger.
🤝 Now consider the fact that the interactions between humans and dogs is far more complex than the above example – two living, breathing, thinking feeling organisms communicating cross-species to create mutually beneficial outcomes…it’s not at all as straight forward as the chemistry of cement and how it works in the real world.
🗣 So if you’re the type of person to offer advice to others via social media about how to train their dog (or build their house) please be sure to have your facts 100% straight first.
🛑 If not, then it may be better for you to keep your advice to yourself – despite the fact that your intentions may be very noble.
🆘 Oh, and if you’re the type of person that seeks their dog training and behavioural modification advice on social media – well, just be aware that you’re likely to get very poor advice on the whole.
💩 Hell, it’s even a crap-shoot wading through the myriad of advice that is offered by dog training and behaviour ’professionals’ on social media, so you’d expect it to be much worse if you’re paying attention to armchair experts.
🔎 Accordingly, if you damage your dog (or your relationship with your dog) with advice you took off some social media expert – that’s on you, and your laziness. There’s nobody else to blame if that happens.