The dog training world is full of BAD advice

Please be mindful of the ‘training’ advice offered by certain ‘youtube’ individuals.

The moment you find a ‘trainer’ interpreting ANY animal’s behaviour as being:

“Shitty”
“Crappy”
“Bratty”
or “Throwing a tantrum”

Then I urge you to seek alternative advice elsewhere.

Interpretations such as these (and these are genuine), are indicative of an individual who has come face to face with the extent of their own knowledge, experience or capabilities. It’s almost like an involuntary safety mechanism, designed to prevent us from realising that we are limited, perhaps more limited than we either believed ourselves to be, or would like to appear. It doesn’t necessarily make the person ‘bad’, in fact they likely love their animals and genuinely believe that they are doing right by them. However it often suggests that individuals who use this type of observational terminology, are inclined to place multiple problems under one explanatory umbrella, implying that the dog is somehow capable of acting in a certain way, simply to spite, challenge or deliberately undermine you.

If a dog is reliably acting in a particular way, be it contextually predictable or seemingly irrational, there IS a reason. The reason may be obvious, difficult, or indeed impossible to ascertain, but on some level, there IS a reason. One thing is absolutely certain … No dog, is behaving the way it is behaving, due to “throwing a tantrum” or because it considers it necessary to act “bratty”.

Following extensive field work involving hours and hours of documented, observable canine behaviour, no ethologist has ever returned an ethogram which read “Shitty” or “crappy” in order to describe what they had witnessed.

Here’s the danger (as I see it), in using terms such as these to describe what unfolds before us … They provide all the justification required, to allow anger, frustration and resentment to cloud our thoughts and govern our actions.
“Shitty” behaviour is justifiably punished. I needn’t concern myself with the why’s and the wherefores if I consider a behaviour to be “crappy”, I can just get in there and stamp it out. It’s a personal attack.
The fact that consistently undesirable behaviours are generally indicative of a far larger ‘relationship’ or certainly contextual issue doesn’t matter one bit .. Not if My dog is being “Shitty”!

Plus …… PLUS ….. Those blokes on the internet said it’s okay, and they’ve got several thousand followers and are “Internationally recognised behaviour experts” – Right?
They’ve never actually met me, my dog or my family. They’ve never been to my home, joined us on our walks or asked for any veterinary or acquisition and rearing history.
They know nothing of my dog’s breeding, present level of command fluency or individual temperament …. But that doesn’t matter. It’s irrelevant WHY my dog is barking on the lead, chasing her tail incessantly or leaping at guests. It’s all just “Shitty” and therefore deserves correction, needless of further thought .

Do you see WHY I get so frustrated when I see video advice like this? It explains nothing, and so the desperate owners who watch it, learn nothing. It reduces dog training to a level below that of anyone who genuinely consider themselves ‘trainers’, to a place where coercion is king, and understanding, irrelevant. It’s a backward step that I urge anyone and everyone to avoid.

I have no issue whatsoever, with delivering a negative consequence to a behaviour which threatens the welfare of any animal, and I include that threat as being the very real possibility that the dog will be surrendered to a shelter. The difference being, that wherever possible, I will look to give the animal full control over that situation through the use of an appropriate alternative, or at the very least, an environmental cue which serves to predict the likelihood of pending correction, thereby providing the dog with control. A dog taught to walk well on a lead, won’t pull. A dog which pulls on a lead isn’t being “shitty”, it simply doesn’t know how to walk acceptably.

There is no benefit whatsoever, to be gained by interpreting any behaviour which displeases you, as “shitty”, “crappy” or “bratty”. Should you hear things like this, proceed with caution.

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