Jargon and Training Gimmicks
Quick Fixes and Physical Restraints
Dog trainers and pet behaviourists are often
falling into the trap of labelling the poor misunderstood animal with one of
the fashionable "in" words or statements, often giving misguided,
insensitive or even damaging advice. How many times have we heard the following
"buzz" words or statements; aggressive, dominant, attention seeking,
not socialised? Or phrases such as "Never let your dog walk in front of
you or go though a doorway first." or, "Don't let your dog sleep in
the bedroom."? These statements are casually thrown out as fact without an
in depth understanding of that particular person' s circumstances or the
temperament and history of their pet. It is arrogant and insulting when so
called "experts" bombard the poor owner with conflicting, sometimes
inaccurate, or incomplete advice.
"Don't let your dog walk in front of you. It shows he is dominant."
Does it? Where do sheep dogs, guide dogs, tracker dogs, police dogs work? In
front. How about drug detection dogs that seek out explosives and unexploded
mines, their handlers are well behind! I am very happy for my Newfoundland to
hurry though the door first as I bring up the rear, because she is carrying in
the week's shopping from Tescos! Sometimes she pulls like a train and
sometimes she stands rock still how ever hard I pull; I find this very useful
as she pulls me up steep slippery slopes and acts as a safe anchor as I hang on
to her as I climb down again!
"Don't let your dog sleep in the bedroom."
Statements such as this are not
helpful. Some owners are on their own, and are often lonely and nervous and
enjoy the security and comfort their pet gives. Some people have to work during
the day so like to maximise the time their pets are with them when they are at
home. The important issue is whether this is causing a problem, or is it likely
to in this particular case?
There are many reasons for this that have to be explored. One case
I helped with was a little dog who suddenly become aggressive when picked up
and enthusiastically cuddled by his owner. His "aggression" problem
was very painful anal glands! I think I might have been a bit aggressive too!
Then we have the quick fixes and physical restraints, the head collars and dogs
trussed up in all kinds of harnesses. We have the buzzers and shockers,
clackers and clonkers. All these gimmicks are a poor substitute for an in depth
study of the dog and its special needs.