What’s the best training “method”??

Posted on July 13th, 2011 by admin

The best dog training method- It’s not a black and white issue.

I never thought I’d be saying this, but…. Thank God for Cesar Milan!

Although I know there are some that will accuse me of being simply jealous of another’s notoriety and success, I can say quite truthfully say that in the world of dog trainers, Cesar Milan is certainly talented but not the miracle worker he is commonly thought to be. In fact, Cesar himself would not argue this point. So why do the dogs on Cesar’s television show behave so differently for him than they do for their owners, and why do so many  dog owners watching from home relate to the frustrations of Mr. Milan’s clients.  The answer has much to do with perception.

We as a culture have been conditioned since birth, via talking animals in cartoons, books, and even movies like Outward Bound, to attribute far too many human characteristics and cognitive abilities to dogs. I would like to balance this thought with my belief that dogs share many similarities in emotion, feeling and experience as we as humans do.  This is precisely why they make such great companions. However, you will be doing your dog a huge disservice if you truly PERCIEVE he or she to be just “my baby”.   Cesar Milan’s core message of acknowledging the true nature of a dog as an animal, and not a child wearing a fur coat, has been an absolute godsend to the dog community.

The idea that purely positive reinforcement being the only humane and effective way to train is nothing short of ignorant. The best way to choose a trainer is to ask   to see dogs that he or she has trained. Talk to the people who went through the training with their dog.  Ask if the trainer has any video depicting before and after results. Do the dogs the trainer has trained look confident, and spirited when responding to commands or do they look confused and fearful. “Experts” can talk training theory all day long and sound quite convincing and logical. What ultimately matters is what happens when these ideas are applied and tested. I can speak confidently on this subject because I am speaking from personal experience, not something I read to be true. I can say with certainty that dogs can learn everything that is necessary to live harmoniously alongside people through both positive and negative reinforcement methods with very little stress and much enjoyment along the way. As in most everything else in life, the answer lies somewhere in the middle and never to one extreme or the other.

-Ryan Herbst

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