Monday, January 2, 2017

Aversive Dog Training

Countering The Aversive
December 30, 2016
Author: Drayton Michaels

The notions that dogs are seeking to “dominate” humans or gain rank on them have been firmly debunked by the science community.

Some pet dog trainers that are either using aversive methods or some that call themselves “balanced”, and use a combination of both aversive approaches and food rewards, may carry the notion that positive reward based trainers are against them personally, or that are looking to have them stop training dogs.

While I can only speak for myself, it is not personal at all. What it boils down to for me, and many others, is the potential fallouts of using shock or choke, and/or physically reprimanding a dog that has me and other at odds with training via fear and pain. Once trainers who use such methods stop the aversive approaches, why would anyone want them to stop training dogs? After all there are lots of dogs that need help.

The other aspect of pet dog training that has many +R trainers agitated is the continuing false notions that dogs are “dominating” humans or looking to “gain rank” on humans when they resist or are not as compliant as humans would like.

David L. Mech, who was one of the proponents of the “dominance” theory, came out quite a few years ago and said he and his research team got it wrong.

Ray Coppinger has said many times in interviews that dogs are not “pack” animals like elephants are. Sure, dogs pack up for procreation, prey acquisition, and play, but dogs are not classified as pack animals, they are social animals, as most animals are.

It is these two-misguided notions, 1 – that fear and pain is needed to “train” and 2 – that dogs are “dominating” humans when resistant, that keep causing humans to imprint behavior issues such as increased fear and aggression, and have an adversarial relationship with dogs. It bears repeating dog’s at social maturity have the cognition of a three-year-old child, for life.
Read the entire article

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