Party Planning

In an obedience ring -- or an agility ring or a draft ring or etc.  -- a dog cannot be forced to do anything. I wish people understood that. It is an illusion to think you can "make" a dog do something.

And since we cannot force, we have two options. We can make the consequences of not doing what we want so unpleasant the dog chooses to perform the desired behavior, or we can make the desired behavior so fun/interesting/cool/rewarding that the dog chooses to perform. Threats/Pain -- or Invitation.

BTW -- Help me understand where in life we are allowed to make things so fricking awful for another that they do our bidding? I am pretty sure that is illegal. And immoral. 

Dog trainers and handlers minimize/rename their cruelty. FYI -- if it hurts, it is cruel. Is a title or score really worth being that kind of person?

I will always remember the wisdom of one of Marti's twins at about age 12 who observed that a person who could be mean to a dog while smiling was just creepy; dog trainers and handlers do that all the time. Even well-dressed and smiling, Cruella deVille was still a mean bitch.

I think of training a dog for performance events as issuing an invitation -- "hey Claire, do you want to bring stuff to me? It will be super fun."

And because she thinks it is super fun to join the training party, seven-month-old Claire can already do this...

Some pinch tender ears to get a dog to hold a dumbbell. I don't know about you, but that sure doesn't sound like any party I would want to attend!

I think it is easier to be a training bully than run a successful and fun training party -- it takes less thought, less skill, less knowledge to be brutish. It also makes one a less humane human, and that is a sad and unfortunate thing for all concerned. 

In summary -- be nice to your dogs! And when training -- think more about making the party so wonderful that a dog *wants* to attend and less about retaliating when the dog thinks your party planning skills need some work. 


by Kay on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 08:43

Party on! Much more fun for everyone.

by Lori S. on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 08:46

I love that word as it relates to dog training.
I need to have this "ear pinch" thing explained to me. I get how inflicting pain would get a dog to stop doing something, but how does it get them to do something? I don't follow the logic. Hold this dumbbell or else I'll pinch your ear? Who's the dumbbell?

by Nell in Cedar City on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 09:29

We were taught about 100 years ago in the slip collar jerk days this way: pinch ear - Dog's mouth opens (in protest) - put dumbbell in open mouth - close mouth perhaps forcibly - hold mouth closed and pat dog. Horrible! Our young Berner was the best in the class at the beginning and the worse at the end. Merlin got bored with multiple repetitions. We eventually learned lots better methods. Thank goodness

Nobody guessed yesterday. I think Harper under the table. Then from left Zoey Sparkle Claire Tika.


by Kay Lynn Odle-Moore on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 10:25

LOVE this philosophy of training.....and who wouldn't want to join in the fun? LOVE watching Claire choose to bring you items (just like her momma Sparkle delights in doing). Thanks for sharing Mary-Ann.

by CA Heidi on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 10:33

My relationship with my dog is the greatest reward I can ask for. Everything else is secondary. I was taught to train dogs roughly, and I have tremendous regrets about that. I can't think of any prize I could win that would be worth training that way now. But Bravo is so very happy every time he sees me - that's worth everything to me.


by Michelle Lennon on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 19:26


by Deb S. on Wed, 08/09/2017 - 12:43

I would rather never see a ribbon than ever inflict pain on my fur kids. It took a fair amount of time in rally and obedience before I could just ignore all the "you should just pop his collar...that will teach him" types and not let them ruin my day. I always wondered what that would teach him. That he can't trust me? That my affection comes at a steep price? That his well-being isn't as important as a 10 cent ribbon? No thanks.

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