Contributed by Dan Josselyn
Have you ever been told to make sure your dog never walks in front of you, or to reward fear? Ever been told you need to teach your dog you’re the “alpha?” If you watch dog training on TV, you’ve probably heard the terms packleader, dominance, and submission. You may have also heard positive reinforcement trainers say very different things, primarily reinforcing good behavior instead. How do you know who’s right? Science! Scientists now study dogs all over the world and publish their results for everyone to learn from. A consensus has emerged: Positive reinforcement achieves better results with fewer dangerous side effects than traditional or “balanced” training.
Television isn’t the best place to get dog training advice, which is why they have disclaimers. If a TV show has the same disclaimer as MTV’s Jackass; “Don’t try this at home!” then don’t! Instead find a dog trainer that understands modern training.
To find a modern trainer, try: https://www.karenpryoracademy.com/. Karen Pryor’s the originator of clicker training. If you need advice on handling dogs, I recommend Dr. Sophia Yin’s web page: http://drsophiayin.com/lowstress. You can also find hospitals and individuals that are Low Stress Handling Certified.
Dan Josselyn, Golden Rule Dog Training: http://www.goldenruledogs.com/