Monday, July 17, 2017

Considering a Dog's Emotions

Am I a Wimp for Caring About My Dog’s Emotions?

Maybe it’s my upbringing, but I always flinch a little bit at the use of the language of emotions when talking about training. So even though my relationships with my dogs are primary and important, I hesitate to talk about “bonds” or “trust.”  It sounds so…I don’t know…California. (I can say that because I’m from there.)

The thing is that most of the people who are out there talking about magical energy and bonds and leadership and trust and all those other things we can’t describe concretely are doing dogs (and competent positive reinforcement trainers) a real disservice. Because emotions—the dogs’ emotions—do have a place in training. We can’t see them, but we can often see their results. Emotions and internal states have a place in behavior analysis because they drive observable behavior.

So considering a dog’s emotional state is not the sign of a wimpy cookie pusher, you know, those mythical trainers who train with fairy farts and rainbows and whose dogs knock over grandma and run into traffic. Considering a dog’s emotions is the sign of a thoughtful and prudent trainer. Because not all emotions are tender and sweet. Of course we want our dogs to have joyful and fulfilling lives. But there’s another reason to concern ourselves with dogs’ emotional states. They are predators with mouths full of teeth. Many of them are powerful enough to kill a human. Any of them with half their teeth can do damage. Read the entire article

Like Us on Facebook
Follow on Twitter

No comments: