May the Force NOT Be with You
I am sorry Star Wars lovers, this really has nothing to do with Star Wars. I too am a Star Wars fan… never really got into Star Trek, but I sure do love me some Ewoks. The critters were always my favorite… but I digress.
I was all poised and ready to write an article on force and how forcing affects not only your dog but also the people in your lives; when I got a response on our blog from someone who is happily hitting his dog… Yes, I unfortunately said “happily hitting his dog”.
You know most people actually feel bad for smacking their dog in the face, but not this guy, he was proud like everyone should jump on his band wagon (don’t worry I will share some of his comments in a minute), but in all reality…
No one likes to feel forced.
We like to think we are doing things because we WANT to do it or because there is something else to gain from our inconvenience.
We may not WANT to go to work, but there is something that we get out of it (friendship, a paycheck).
It doesn’t matter which animal it is, force is not a happy, joyful experience.
Did I mention NO ONE (or nothing) LIKES FORCE?
- This is why when you pull on your dog’s collar he pulls back
- When you try to pop his collar he just pulls harder
- When you try to MAKE your dog sit or lay down he struggles, tries to bite you, or runs away
Dogs like to feel like they are in control just as much as anyone else.
This doesn’t mean he is sitting in his crate at night planning to take over the world with some diabolical plan. No animal, human, dog, cat, squirrel, raccoon, you name it here _____ likes to be forced to do something it doesn’t want to do with no obvious gain.
The true trick is to make them think they WANT to listen to our commands, this is what makes us the intelligent or superior being. We click and treat them for listening to us, and we teach them appropriate behaviors!
What would You Do Whew Whew (I am hoping you sang that in your head)
for a Klondike Bar ®?
Would you pick up some dog poop with a bare hand? I bet some of you would… hands wash after all.
Now what if I came up to you and tried to force you to pick up some poop; even your own dog’s poop with your bare hand?
I bet we’d get down to some brawling pretty quickly; don’t underestimate me I am pretty sprite and tough when I am backed against a wall and have to defend myself!
This is how your dog feels when you are about to force him to do something he really doesn’t want to do, something he is scared to do, or when he knows you are about to punch him in the face.
It MAY work in your favor if you are bigger, faster, and more determined… but you may lose should your dog decide that he is tired of being hit, strangled, kicked, shocked or otherwise physically abused.
Let’s just say if you wouldn’t do it to your kid in a crowded mall, you probably shouldn’t be doing it to your dog… anywhere.
Just over a year ago a former Army veteran dog trainer in Colorado was arrested for aggravated animal cruelty. Aggravated animal cruelty is a Class 6 felony in Colorado and if found guilty, Matthews could face up to 18 months in prison and a maximum $100,000 fine.
Hitting, kicking, choking, shocking, prong collars and choke chains are common staples in traditional training techniques that depend on punishment which is not only outdated; using common sense has actually been proven that positive reinforcement and positive techniques work better.
As BF Skinner discussed, positive reinforcement is superior to punishment in altering behavior. He maintained that punishment was not simply the opposite of positive reinforcement; positive reinforcement results in lasting behavioral modification, whereas punishment changes behavior only temporarily and presents many detrimental side effects.
Like the next time you go to hit your dog… he may attack you for trying!
I always fear for the dog trainer that tells his client who may weigh less than his/her dog to hit, kick, or alpha roll it. Some day some dog trainer is going to cause someone’s death. It is sad, because it is avoidable and people who use these techniques are lazy and irresponsible.
So this is how the argument started and went down. I will edit it a bit and not use real names but I had a response from a gentleman that thinks hitting his dog in the face is an appropriate punishment when the dog doesn’t listen. Not only is he proud that he did it and as he said “It worked. He’d do it again”
Now, first you have to understand we are a “Hands Off” training program, we neither condone nor recommend hitting, punching, kicking or even leash corrections. I guess he was bored and wanted a debate so this was my response. I will make “me” purple.
So is this how you would treat a child? Or how you would respond to a Whale or a Cheetah?
I have worked with Cheetahs, and I certainly wouldn’t be smacking them in the face.
We are the more intelligent animals, we should use our brains and not our physical brawn to get them to do what we ask.
My other background is in training Service Dogs for people in wheel chairs. I may have been able to smack my dogs in training in the face or hit them, but that doesn’t mean their quadriplegic owner could do the same thing nor would I nor would I ever expect them to do so.
Dogs and especially wolves often kill, maim and blind each other in the wild, and mothers often kill their young. That also doesn’t make it acceptable for us to do to them when we are angry or they don’t listen.
If your dog is not listening to you, that is the problem, there is the break down in your communication and relationship.
Hitting isn’t needed; perhaps a little one on one obedience training and spending more time together would help him adjust better than getting a fist to the muzzle.
And this was his and since he is so angry I will make his red…
no, it’s how i would treat my dog and how i do treat my dog. hes a dog, hes not a human. thats the problem with weirdos like you. you project your own weaknesses and neuroses onto animals & this confuses them, and demeans them in my opinon. dogs arent toys, they are predators, pack animals whose genetics have been manipulated but they remain animals with animal dynamics.
he responds fine when i smack him, which is rare. but when i do it, i dont regret it at all. his behavior changes to how he should behave (ie, obeying me) and everything is fine. if he needs a corrective “bite” in the form of a good sound smack every now and then, it doesnt diminish his trust in me, it only asserts for him who the pack leader is.
you dont know anything about animals, obviously, and have no respect for them other than as toys for your amusement.
the old dog is actually well trained…he knows more than 100 commands, including hand signals. i achieved this with him using smacks to back up voice commands. he is as confident as ever—as i said he is an animal and strong-willed—but respects the boundaries. so you go ahead and coddle and demean and continue to treat the animals you come into contact with like they are toys in a cartoon. my method works fine and it respects the animals as they are meant to be respected and are genetically evolved to be respected.
And, I must say that yes I get my dogs for “my amusement” in some ways they are “my toys” as he puts it because I snuggle with them, I play with them, I use them to do things for me… and I really don’t think that is wrong. Why else would someone get a dog?
And, I certainly respect them, which is why I don’t punch them in the face. If I met Joe Montana (my favorite ball player or all time) or Jon Bon Jovi, or Ian Dunbar or Karen Pryor; I certainly wouldn’t smack them in the face as a show of respect or if our opinions on something differed.
I think a good friend of mine use to sum it up perfectly “Aggression is the first resource of the incompetent”.
Whereas I can expect aggression from animals, I expect kind, gentle, thought and tolerance from people who I assume have minds and intelligence toward their dogs.
I have some very difficult “working” dogs, and yet I don’t need to punch them in the face if they don’t listen. I actually place the blame where it lies; with me for not teaching them well enough and giving them enough skills for whatever situation I put them in.
I’ll stick with my clicker and fun dog training thanx!
What do you think? Do you resort to punching and kicking?
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.