Love is An Action Word

Photo Courtesy of Lynn Dubois and Tammy

Photo Courtesy of Lynn Dubois and Tammy

Make a pledge this year to not only tweak you dog’s diet and exercise activities but to use dog-friendly leash-walking equipment and training methods. Think carefully about how you will socialize and train the new addition or the cherished family dog in the coming year.

Afterall, we are training sentient creatures who we have domesticated and who we love with all our hearts. Love is an action word. Show your love in the way you train.

Sadly, the dog training industry has become a public health and safety nightmare.  We now know that outdated “alpha”/dominance methods and equipment are known causes of aggression and often lead to dog bites. In the US, the field of dog training is completely unregulated and peppered with practitioners with no education in animal behavior or animal welfare. Anyone can purchase a website with cutting edge features, label themselves a “professional” dog trainer or dog training company and charge you fees.

Your invaluable hair stylist must complete standardized coursework and demonstrate competence in order to earn a license. Client safety and a “do no harm” ethic are compulsory. The field of dog training needs standards and regulation too, in order to put an end to animal abuse and incompetency in our industry. We desperately need attorneys and politician dog lovers as well, who will advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. Ban shock collars in the USA.

Virtually every true credentialed behavior expert warns against the use of shock, prong and choke collars and dominance training methods (Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 2006). The sale and use of these devices are already banned in some countries.  Medical injuries are not uncommon.

Love is an action word!

Dogs have emotions similar to ours and they experience fear and pain. Your dog can be safely and easily trained using force-free/pain-free methods. Progressive zoos worldwide and wolfdog trainers use force free methods for the largest, most difficult animals. It can work for your dog too — if you seek out a competent trainer and leave the hype and the promise of a quick-fix behind.  You and your dog will love it!

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Positively Expert: Linda Michaels, MA

Linda Michaels is a VSPDT trainer, dog training columnist, and owner of Dog Psychologist On Call in Del Mar, CA. Linda holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology with research experience in Behavioral Neurobiology. She is a Behavioral Advisor for the Wolf Education Project (WEP) in Julian, CA and Art for Barks in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.


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