1.) I own a very sensitive dog
Scooter is very sensitive dog that is very cautious around me, especially inside. We don’t have a very strong bond because anytime I use a slight correction like a leash tug it can ruin our bond and cause him to distrust me even more. Besides, he’s got a low confidence and is nervous of nearly everything.
2.) I don’t want to lose Springy’s bond and trust she has for me (along with her confidence)
Springy is the only one of the dogs who likes me the most. She and I have a close bond (not as strong as it used to) and are pretty trusting of each other. She also has a decent amount of confidence which I don’t want to destroy like I did with Scooter’s.
3.) It’s FUN!
Does this even need an explanation? Every time I use some sort of correction I feel like a dictator who only cares about what I want and don’t respect anybody else’s wants/needs.
4.) It’s very easy to misuse and turn abusive
Some balanced trainers are clearly abusive and it’s very easy to abuse animals with this method. I’ve watched videos where “trainers” whip dogs from side to side in a prong collar, causing them to shut down. Some have put on shock collars and turned it up way too high, causing the dog to yelp. Of course, those are the extremes and there’s many people who use them correctly but if some professionals can’t use them correctly than what makes anybody think the average person will do it any better?
5.) It works for me
I know not everybody has had successes with positive reinforcement training and their dog has gotten worse with it over time and they improved better with balanced training or punishment based training. For me, any correction will cause Scooter to dislike me even more while Springy does okay with some corrections which all depends on her mood and the severity but positive reinforcement training usually always works for me unless they are way overstimulation and overthreshold.
6.) I care more about our relationship and the journey than the destination
Yes, sometimes I wish I could have dogs who would just listen to me and ignore everything else. Sometimes I wish they would want to work for me and not for what I have (then I remember that I don’t want them to listen to me because they have to or they want to avoid sonething). Sometimes I wish my dogs would just ‘get it’ quickly so I can move on to something else. Unlike some owners who only care about a dog who listens to them in real life scenerio’s and totally neglecting their bond (or lack of one), I care about what my dogs think of me. I don’t want them to think I’m a scary unpredictable person but rather a person who is fun and reliable and Scooter already views me as an aversive. I want my dogs to learn it’s the best thing EVER to choose me over a squirrel or a person but that takes time and lots of patience. I would rather my dogs know they can count on me to keep them safe and not put them in any situation that will possibly destroy our relationship. I care more about having fun, building a strong bond and the setbacks and all the frustraton and guilt than the end result. Why? It gives me an insight to what I’m doing wrong so I can fix it and myself so I can be a better dog owner to Springy and Scooter in the future.
Share your thoughts in the comments below. What method do you use and why?