There is a lot of information out there regarding the right way to train your dog. There are trainers who do not have credentials, so it is always important for you to do your homework so that you can be confident that your dog is getting the most scientifically researched and humane training out there.
Your dog is an individual, and therefore needs an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) when it comes to his training needs. Since all dogs are not alike in temperament, it is critical that each animal’s training plan be tailored to that specific dog. It is important for an owner and trainer to apply sensitivity when working with a dog. One size fits all is not the approach you want to take when training your furry friend.
The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) supports a Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) approach to behavior modification and training. This is the method employed at the Potter League where I work. LIMA requires that trainers and behavior consultants use the least intrusive, minimally aversive technique likely to succeed in achieving a training or behavior change objective with minimal risk of producing adverse side effects. It is also a competence criterion, requiring that trainers and behavior consultants be adequately trained and skilled in order to ensure that the least intrusive and aversive procedure is in fact used. According to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, positive reinforcement is associated with the lowest incidence of aggression, attention seeking, and fear in student dogs. Positive reinforcement marks the dog’s desired behavior with treats and praise. Aversive training refers to the use of choke, prong and shock collars to achieve the desired behavior. The problem with aversive training techniques is that things can go wrong and your dog can end up becoming anxious and afraid. The APDT as well as many vets in the area recommend that you train your dog with the help of a trainer; it is important that you work and bond with the dog.
Practicing since 1998, Inga MacKellar and Mathew Ward, two of only 35 Certified Clinical Animal Behaviorists in the United Kingdom, co-wrote an article on the negative aspects of the use of aversives like electronic collars. Aversives are any corrections which are unpleasant to the dog. Spraying a water bottle at a dog or yelling “ no” are also aversives.
They found that there are many “quick fix” products available to dog owners who wish to modify the behavior of their pet. The Association of Pet Behavior Counselors in the United Kingdom advises that the use of devices such as e collars that rely on pain or discomfort to modify behavior are inappropriate as they have the potential to seriously compromise the welfare of dogs and ruin their relationship with their owners.
These experts explain that despite advances in our understanding of dog behavior and training, and the general move towards reward-based training techniques, some people still continue to recommend unpleasant or painful techniques as the best way to train dogs, or to deal with behavior problems. While the pain or discomfort of shock collars can work to suppress behavior, their use comes with risks, and often the underlying reasons for problem behavior are not dealt with. Even in experienced hands, it can be difficult to deliver shocks at the right moment and to predict the level of discomfort or pain experienced by a dog; in inexperienced hands, the use of shock collars can result in poorly timed intense electric shocks that induce fear and ongoing anxiety in the dog. Owners are often unaware of the high levels of pain that they may be causing their dog.
One of the most common behavior problems encountered with dogs is that of aggression. In many cases, aggression is motivated by fear. When a dog is nervous or frightened, a natural behavioral strategy is to use aggression to get rid of the “threat”. Placing a shock collar on such a dog to stop it being aggressive can result in the dog becoming even more fearful of the situation, which can make the aggression more likely in the future. Imagine if you were scared of spiders or snakes and were shocked for trying to swat away a tarantula or cobra from your lap! The use of a shock collar to try and stop aggressive behavior can also suppress the warning signs displayed by a dog before it is aggressive, which can make their aggression less predictable and more dangerous.
Dogs learn by association – when using a shock collar there is a risk that the dog may associate the shock with something other than the behavior that people are trying to stop. For instance, if a shock is administered for barking, there is a danger that the dog might associate a benign aspect of its environment (such as a nearby child) with the pain of the shock, rather than its own barking. This could lead to the dog developing distrust or even fear of certain locations, individuals, or other stimuli. Another significant risk with the use of shock collars is that rather than linking the shock to the wrong thing, a dog may not be able to link the shock to anything at all! This result is a dog becoming totally confused, anxious and stressed as it repeatedly suffers the pain of the electric shock for no apparent reason.
The Association of Pet Behavior Counselors (APBC) in the UK and the (APDT) in the US feel that behavior problems can be best addressed through behavior modification programs based on an understanding of the motivation for each dog’s behavior, and the use of humane, reward-based training methods. In addition, three recent scientific articles cited below found that e collars should not be used when training dogs, especially since positive, reward based training was more effective and less psychologically stressful on dogs. Cortisol levels were higher in dogs that were trained with e collars; this indicates a higher degree of stress on the animal.
Please don’t use shock collars on your dog! So many things can go wrong, and sometimes these dogs end up at the Potter League because of problems associated with the misuse of these collars. The use of reward-based, non-confrontational techniques, patience, compassion and consistency go a long way. Please don’t be tempted by the quick fix!
You can find a certified trainer through this website: https://apdt.comhttps://apdt.com
To read more, you can visit the following websites: www.petbehaviour.co.uk