The 3 Categories Of Dog Trainers

There are three basic categories of dog trainers. I learned about these three categories by reading about a dog trainer named Ed Frawley. He’s got a book call “Philosophy on Dog Training”. After reading his book, I started watching other people interact with their dog.

I was once a musher and in the world of dog sledding, these philosophies are very much applicable especially when it comes to promoting a sound family pack structure. As you read on, hopefully you will be able to place yourself in one of those three categories.

The Briber and The Beggar

This is the group of people who beg or bribe their dogs into doing something by offering a toy or a reward. This is not to say that I’ve never used food or toys in training but I also used distraction and corrections to get my point across. Generally, the people in this category use neither. It’s funny how all of the mega pet stores “enable” this type of unproductive training because the big stores wouldn’t want to rock the boat. We must all be politically correct now!

The problem is that the dog will eventually realize what is going on and choose not to do what you have asked them to do. They will think the reward is not worth the effort. These dogs will end up being pushy, antisocial and aggressive animals. Those are the dogs you’ll end up seeing at your local animal shelters. The dog is essentially being held responsible for ineffective training.

The Intimidator

These people are the old school types. That’s it… Reef on that leach buddy! Ever see a movie where the North American dog handler speaks in German to give commands to his dog? That’s ridiculously old school as well. These trainers intimidate or force the dog to do what they want.

They’ll put a choke collar on a dog and force it to do everything. Again, don’t get me wrong. I’ve used choke collars before but only in specific instances like teaching leash respectability. Choke collars are a training tool and not an everyday control appendage. Many professional trainers will use intimidation tactics because time is money and with enough force a dog will do almost anything.

The issue with the intimidators is that the dogs seldom like their handlers and are in fact usually afraid of them. These dogs will tuck their tails in between their legs or just drop to the ground and be submissive when asked to do something. You can tell who these trainers are. Just look at their dog’s behavior. The dog is seldom happy when near their trainer because they never know when the piano is going to drop on their heads.

Meet me in the middle

You should strive to be in the middle but always be prepared to be a “Briber” or an “Intimidator” depending on what the dog requires at the time. Keep in mind that those are both extremes and that your goal is to find the perfect balance between the two.

This third category uses food, toys or praise to lead the dog through a training phase. The dog learns commands such as COME and STAY. Once the dog learns a command then the trainer ups the ante by throwing distractions to the program. If the dog is disobedient then the dog should realize very early into the program that it will be corrected and or disciplined.

Use positive reinforcement when the dog does correctly by giving lots of praise and treats but be ready to turn the screws a little when the dog is not paying attention. That’s where you should be.

Who is Alpha anyway?

It should be you, the trainer. Dogs are pack animals. They can love you but not respect you at all. Most pet owners fail to realize that the driving force in a dog’s life is to preserve harmony in the pack structure. There is a hierarchy and guess what… You are supposed to be at the top. It is very important to establish a sound family pack environment. That philosophy is 75% of having a harmonious co-existence with your dog. The other 25% is education, patience and a good training regimen.

If your dog shows disrespect, you should increase pressure on your dog. This means you will work the dog harder until the dog shows you the respect that an Alpha should have. Alpha is supposed to be fair, firm and consistent.

Which category to you belong to?

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