Updated: Apr 3, 2020
The following was written by my colleague and friend Erika Lessa of Cooperation Canine
and originally published April 18. I couldn't have said it better myself, so have shared it here it it's entirety.
This is a PSA: First, I want to say thank you to all of my colleagues who are practitioners and clients who have taken the time to understand the benefits of added reinforcement based training methods.
Next, I would like to help activate all of those who understand the fall out of using aversive stimulation as a behavior change strategy. Let's help spread the word. If you know of anyone who is struggling with their dog's behavior, and they get any of the following advice, let them know there are more productive ways to work with dogs.
1. Trainer recommends using a towel rolled up or loose to hit your dog. This will appear to be magic but in reality is behavior suppression and a temporary change. It also runs a very high risk of increasing reactivity and aggressive behaviors.
2. Trainer forces equipment on your dog while your dog is trying to move away. Moving away is an escape behavior and indicates that your dog finds the event aversive. This can manifest in immediate or latent aggression as the dog's early warning responses are ignored.
3. Trainer recommends the use of quick snaps or jerks of the leash to interrupt a behavior while using positive reinforcement at the same time. This is confusing and often causes frustration and stress in your dog.
4. Trainer recommends the use of shock for any reason.
If you or someone you know is wrestling with what is ethical, what is productive, or fair when changing the behavior of a companion dog, please give us a call. You do NOT need to hire us!!! We will be happy to talk and answer any questions you have about hiring a behavior professional.
Thank you. Please share as far and wide as we can! #ForTheLoveofDogs
To learn more about choosing a skilled and kind professional, check out my book Fetching the Perfect Dog Trainer which outlines qualities, interview questions, credentials, and more.