Dog Training Today with Will Bangura for Pet Parents, Kids & Family, Pets and Animals, and Dog Training Professionals. This is a Education & How To Dog Training Podcast.

Dog Training Today with Will Bangura: #140 2023, The Year in Review, Dog Training and the Dog Training Industry

December 26, 2023 Will Bangura, M.S., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, FFCP is a World Renowned Dog Behaviorist, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and a Fear Free Certified Professional with over 36 years of experience with the most difficult of Season 4 Episode 140
Dog Training Today with Will Bangura: #140 2023, The Year in Review, Dog Training and the Dog Training Industry
Dog Training Today with Will Bangura for Pet Parents, Kids & Family, Pets and Animals, and Dog Training Professionals. This is a Education & How To Dog Training Podcast.
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Dog Training Today with Will Bangura for Pet Parents, Kids & Family, Pets and Animals, and Dog Training Professionals. This is a Education & How To Dog Training Podcast.
Dog Training Today with Will Bangura: #140 2023, The Year in Review, Dog Training and the Dog Training Industry
Dec 26, 2023 Season 4 Episode 140
Will Bangura, M.S., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, FFCP is a World Renowned Dog Behaviorist, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and a Fear Free Certified Professional with over 36 years of experience with the most difficult of

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As we round off a year of profound transformation in the dog training realm, I, Will Bangura, extend my deepest gratitude to you, our valued listeners, for journeying with us through the shifting tides of canine training philosophies. From the intense debates on balanced versus force-free training to the rising wave of animal welfare-focused practices, we've dissected the controversial aspects of our industry together. Our discussions have not only been about the tools of the trade but also the heart behind each technique, as we've navigated the complexities of legislation, the influence of social media, and the pioneering shift to virtual consultations.

Unraveling the ethics of dog training, we've probed the layers beneath common methods, examining the emotional consequences of aversive tools versus the benefits of positive reinforcement. Our examination has led us to advocate for a kinder approach that teaches alternative behaviors, challenging the quick-fix allure of punishment-based training. Through the insights of industry experts and the candid stories shared by our guests, we've debunked the myths surrounding force-free training, empowering both pet parents and professionals with knowledge to make informed choices for the well-being of our four-legged companions.

As we stand on the cusp of 2024, our conversation takes a hopeful turn towards a future where understanding and compassion reign supreme in the dog training landscape. With National Train Your Dog Month on the horizon, I invite you to join me in championing a shift in mindset—one that embraces nurturing environments and the importance of owner education. Let's pledge to forge ahead, supporting pet parents in adopting positive reinforcement strategies, ensuring that the legacy we leave for our dogs is one filled with patience, understanding, and mutual respect.

Support the Show.

If you need professional help please visit my Dog Behaviorist website.
Go here for Free Dog Training Articles

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

As we round off a year of profound transformation in the dog training realm, I, Will Bangura, extend my deepest gratitude to you, our valued listeners, for journeying with us through the shifting tides of canine training philosophies. From the intense debates on balanced versus force-free training to the rising wave of animal welfare-focused practices, we've dissected the controversial aspects of our industry together. Our discussions have not only been about the tools of the trade but also the heart behind each technique, as we've navigated the complexities of legislation, the influence of social media, and the pioneering shift to virtual consultations.

Unraveling the ethics of dog training, we've probed the layers beneath common methods, examining the emotional consequences of aversive tools versus the benefits of positive reinforcement. Our examination has led us to advocate for a kinder approach that teaches alternative behaviors, challenging the quick-fix allure of punishment-based training. Through the insights of industry experts and the candid stories shared by our guests, we've debunked the myths surrounding force-free training, empowering both pet parents and professionals with knowledge to make informed choices for the well-being of our four-legged companions.

As we stand on the cusp of 2024, our conversation takes a hopeful turn towards a future where understanding and compassion reign supreme in the dog training landscape. With National Train Your Dog Month on the horizon, I invite you to join me in championing a shift in mindset—one that embraces nurturing environments and the importance of owner education. Let's pledge to forge ahead, supporting pet parents in adopting positive reinforcement strategies, ensuring that the legacy we leave for our dogs is one filled with patience, understanding, and mutual respect.

Support the Show.

If you need professional help please visit my Dog Behaviorist website.
Go here for Free Dog Training Articles

Speaker 1:

Raised by wolves with canine DNA and his blood. Having trained more than 24,000 vets helping you and your fur babies thrive, live in studio with Will Bangura answering your pet behavior and training questions. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host and favorite pet behavior expert, will Bangura.

Speaker 2:

Would you like to go on Wookiees? Good day, dog lovers. I'm Will Bangura. Thanks for joining me for the last episode of 2023. This is dog training today. Yeah, I want to take I want to take this time to thank all of you, all of you that are loyal subscribers, loyal listeners to dog training today, that have been around since it was pet talk today. You've seen a lot throughout the year that we've talked about, and I want to take this time to talk about 2023 and kind of do the year in review when it comes to dog training and the dog training industry, the dog training world, so kind of doing a 2023 wrap up and then kind of talking a little bit about 2024.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, we're just about done with 2023. It's December 26, so we've got a few days left in the year and once again, we've gone another year where the dog training industry is not regulated. The dog training industry remains unregulated, with no formal education requirements. There's also that ongoing, continuing debate between balanced trainers and force free trainers, and there's been a big shift, and one of the big shifts in the world of animal training is in the area of animal welfare. See, it's not just about what tools, what techniques, what methodology, what philosophy of training works? There's different things that work. However, is it in the best interest of your dog's welfare, of the animals welfare, alright? So I want to talk a little bit about that, also in 2023. You know, there's still that trend of banning aversive tools in dog training banning prong collars and banning shock collars. In some cases, in some areas of the world, even choke collars. So I want to talk about that. I want to talk about where things are at as far as banning tools and what is my opinion on this whole idea of banning tools. And, for some of you, we need to talk about what's an aversive and why is that important to the industry? Alright, and taking that and flipping it on the other side, let's talk about purely positive training. Is there such a thing? Is there such a thing as purely positive training? I don't know.

Speaker 2:

And also, we want to talk about in 2023. We started hearing a lot. The verbiage we started hearing was choice and consent in dog training methods. Choice and consent in dog training methods, and what does that mean? And then I want to talk about, you know, influencers. Alright, there are some very influential figures in the dog training world that have huge following on social media A couple hundred thousand, in some cases maybe even more than a couple hundred thousand followers and there have been several that have fallen out of touch with current best practices in training. I also want to talk about certification, the voluntary certifications and their significance in 2023 and moving forward into 2024. And there's a lot of infighting just within the certification associations, and what kind of an impact does that have on the dog training industry? And we would be remiss if we didn't talk about virtual consultations and virtual training, the rise in virtual consultations and training since COVID and where things are at today in 2023 and moving into 2024. And then I want to take a little bit about talking about YouTube, dog trainers and specifically the dog daddy phenomenon and what that means for the dog training industry and moving forward for 2024.

Speaker 2:

But let's start. Let's start by talking about the fact that the dog training industry is still not regulated. There are no requirements for regulation. There's no requirements for education in the dog training industry. Now, those of you that are pet parents, dog owners, you know this. We've got a lot of dog trainers. We've got a lot of behavior consultants, veterinarians, behaviorists, even veterinary behaviorists that listen to this podcast. We've got a lot of vet techs that listen to this podcast and so, where this particular podcast might be geared more towards those that are in the profession, there's a lot that you pet parents can get out of this as well.

Speaker 2:

For example, when you're looking for somebody to help you to train your pet. Did you know that the dog training industry is not regulated? Did you know that there are no requirements to be a dog trainer, that anybody can call themselves a dog trainer? Your next door neighbor may have never owned a dog. Your next door neighbor may have never put their hands on a dog, yet they could call themselves a dog trainer, sam, a professional dog trainer, and start taking clients and training dogs tomorrow. There is no government oversight. There's no regulation of the dog training industry.

Speaker 2:

Now Think about how important our pets are, think about how important our dogs are and how we view our dogs as family, and look at what we do for our pets today. And when you think of that, and when you think about the dog training industry being unregulated, and you think about how many pet parents are looking for a professional to help them train their dog or to deal with some very, perhaps specific behavior problems like fears, phobias, anxiety, reactivity, aggression, phobias and if you're a pet parent boy, you could be really, really confused. You know, you get on the internet and there's all these differing opinions. You get on all of these different websites for these so-called professional dog trainers and you've got all these varying opinions. What's right You've got, on one hand, you've got lots of trainers advocating for the use of purely positive, using positive reinforcement, not using corrections, not using aversives.

Speaker 2:

Now listen, when I use the word correction, I'm using that synonymous with punishment, and that's it. And let's define punishment Anything I don't care anything that causes even the slightest bit of discomfort, fear, pain, intimidation. That's a correction, that's punishment, that's how I'm using it. Okay, in 2023, there is the trend to follow evidence-based and science-based practices and training. The problem is not everybody's in agreement.

Speaker 2:

You've got a dog training industry that is severely fractured and primarily, it's fractured into two categories. One, you've got trainers that believe that it's necessary to use corrections and again, when I say correction, I'm talking about punishment, anything I don't care what it is Anything that causes the slightest bit of discomfort or fear, pain or intimidation. Science, evidence-based practices, science-based practices and we're not talking just one study here. We're talking multiple peer-reviewed studies that show that the most effective and the most efficient way to train a dog is with positive reinforcement. And the studies also show that it's unnecessary here's the word unnecessary. It's unnecessary to use punishment. It's unnecessary to use aversives. It's unnecessary to use corrections and training. You don't need to do that. So what does that mean? It's unnecessary to believe that you have to use any kind of tool or method of training.

Speaker 2:

That's going to cause discomfort to your dog. First of all, it's going to ruin your relationship with your dog if you're the one training it. If you're the one inflicting discomfort, what do you suppose that does to your relationship with your dog? And when your dogs make a mistake, when they engage in a behavior you don't want, chances are your dog has no clue that it's not okay. Your dog's just probably being a dog and not a, not being dominant, not being stubborn, not a dog.

Speaker 2:

And dogs can be unruly, and my definition of unruly is you didn't teach you what the rules were. You know, one of the most natural things for a dog to do is jump up on somebody when they greet them. That doesn't mean the dog's dominant, doesn't mean that the dog is trying to be. Alpha Means the dog's jumping interested in seeing somebody. You know when, when the dog was a puppy, everybody picked it up, brought it to its chest. That simulates jumping up. We teach that inadvertently to dogs.

Speaker 2:

Do we teach an alternative behavior? Do we teach a dog, hey, this is what I want you to do when a guest comes over. I want you to sit politely or lay down or go to your bed or go to your place and then, when I release you, I want you to be calm and I don't want you to be jumping on anybody. Did we take the time to teach the dog what we wanted to do or do we just get frustrated with normal behaviors that dogs do and, because we don't like it and we're frustrated, we start using punishment, corrections, techniques, tools or a philosophy of training. That means, hey, I'm going to cause some discomfort, and discomfort means stress, anxiety. So in 2023, there is this huge focus on animal welfare Can punishment work? Can corrections work? Yes, a, they're not necessary. So let me ask you this If you have a choice, if I, if I sit here and I tell you, hey, you can train in any behavior and, by the way, you can train out any behavior just using positive reinforcement.

Speaker 2:

You don't need to use a prawn collar. You don't need to use a shock collar. You don't need to yell at your dog. No, you don't need to roll up a towel and bunk your dog on the head. You don't need to use a can with some rocks or pennies in it to throw at the dog, to startle the dog. You don't need to use a water sprayer or a spray bottle. You don't need any of those. You don't need any tool, an air horn, anything that's going to cause discomfort, fear, pain, intimidation. You don't need any of that, and science is very clear about that. The problem is, as I mentioned, it's 2023. The dog training industry still still is not regulated. Do you know that the dog training industries only regulated in Germany? Nowhere else in the world is the dog training industry regulated. Now there's a few cities that have attempted to do some a little bit of regulation. Now let me, just let me bring this home for you Ladies do you see a beautician, somebody that styles your hair?

Speaker 2:

Well, chances are if you do, they had to go to school. They had to go to formal schooling, beauty school, hair styling school, and it doesn't matter where you go to school in the United States to learn how to do hair. You're pretty much going to have the same standardized curriculum, no matter where you go to school, throughout the country. And after you're done with your schooling, after you're done with your trade school, now you've got to take a certification exam. You have to prove that the education that you received, you got it, you understand it and you know how to apply that and that's what standards are and that's what certification is. And when you pass certification now you can get a license to be a hairdresser, a beautician, and that's the way it is for almost every single profession. We know it's that way for doctors. We know it's that way for nurses, right, if you want to be a doctor, if you want to go to medical school, I don't care where you go to medical school in this country the curriculum is going to be almost identical, no matter where you go. Everybody agrees on what is the standardized curriculum for medicine and we come up with that and we agree upon that, based on science based and evidence based standards.

Speaker 2:

Okay, like I said, doctors, nurses, veterinarians, vet techs, other other trades, like a plumber, right, yeah, there's school, there are trade schools. If you want to be a plumber. I don't care where you go to school. Go to plumber school in Arizona. You go to plumber school in Connecticut. You go to school to become a plumber in Florida. You go to school to become a plumber in South Dakota, new York, california, atlanta. The education is going to be standardized. We agree on the science. We agree on what science based and evidence based information is out there as it pertains to being a plumber. If you want to work on and be a electrician, same thing, standardized education. I don't care where you go to school. If you want to be an electrician, what you're going to learn in vocational school to become electrician is going to be standardized, no matter where you go to school. And if you do a good job in school and if you study, you're going to do well. And in those professions just like with doctors and nurses and veterinarians and vet techs again, after education, certification, prove you know your stuff. And when you can pass certification, now you get licensed licensed as an electrician or licensed as an air conditioning and heating person, licensed as a cosmetologist, licensed as a doctor, licensed as a veterinarian, licensed as a vet tech, licensed as a barber, licensed as a nail tech.

Speaker 2:

The dog training industry is one of the few industries that just cannot get their shit together and they can't get organized. And they cannot agree on what to teach, and I'm not just, I'm not talking about that. They can't agree on what to teach the pet parents and their and their dogs. They can't agree on curriculum, and the reason they can't agree on curriculum for a college, university or a vocational school to learn how to become a dog trainer, because there's a large group of trainers out there that believe corrections are necessary.

Speaker 2:

There's a large group of trainers out there that believe that you have to use punishment and training. They believe that you have to use corrections. They believe that positive reinforcement is limited and the argument that they'll use is hey, listen, it's not a matter of. If it's a matter of when you and your dog get into a distracting environment or situation where that distraction has more value to your dog, then whatever the positive reinforcer is that you have and if that's the case, you're not going to be able to control your dog. And that's the argument they make why you need corrections, when the truth is the fact of the matter is you don't need the correction, you don't have to have the punishment and the correction. And, quite frankly, if you can't manage and control your dog with distractions, with positive reinforcement, you are just training too fast. Yeah, your dog's not ready for it. You've not done enough training and conditioning. Work at lower level distractions to teach your dog how to stay engaged and how to pay attention and stay focused. At lower level distractions You're working faster than the dog's pace. It's easy. It's easy to use pressure. It's easy to use punishment, it's easy to use corrections.

Speaker 2:

It doesn't take much skill. I mean, how much skill? Think about it. How much skill does it take to push a button on a remote control that shocks a dog? How much skill does it take to inflict pain? How much skill does it take to pop a leash and give a leash correction with a prong collar and cause pain? Instead of always thinking about what you don't want your dog to do, instead of always thinking that, oh, I don't want my dog to do that, so let's punish or correct the dog, let's make it uncomfortable so the dog won't do it again, instead of your mindset going along those lines, how about you think about what you want your dog to do?

Speaker 2:

Is there a behavior that you can teach your dog that if your dog's committed to that behavior, that behavior would be incompatible with the behavior you don't want. Let me go back to jumping. If I successfully teach my dog that when strangers come over or anybody comes through the door that the dog sits or lies down, and if the dog's committed to that behavior, the dog can't jump. The dog can't be sitting and jumping at the same time. The dog can't be lying down and jumping at the same time. It'd have to give up one behavior for the other.

Speaker 2:

So you have two choices you can be the type of trainer or you can be the type of pet parent that when your dog does something wrong and you don't like, you could punish the dog. You could cause fear, pain and intimidation, discomfort. Or you could be the type of trainer or the type of pet parent where, rather than take the easy way out, the lazy way out, you can actually develop some really good skills in animal training and how to modify behavior. The classic example of where things go wrong are dogs with aggression issues. 99% of trainers out there are going to suppress aggression, they're going to correct that, punish that and they'll even use crazy, outdated terms like alpha or dominance, when we know that's all been disproved, not with domesticated dogs. First of all, do you really think that the species, the canine species, is out to dominate the human world? No, they're not trying to dominate us.

Speaker 2:

They're unruly. Like I said earlier, without rules we didn't teach them what we want. Now I realize that in America we don't have much patience. I realize in America that we want things and we want it now. And there's that allure that, hey, if you've got a dog that's jumping, if you've got a dog that's chewing, if you've got a dog that's running away, if you've got a dog that's going to the bathroom in the house, punish the dog, put a shock collar on, put a prong collar on, give it a correction. The one thing you're not doing in any of that is teaching the dog what you want it to do. What's the dog's alternative?

Speaker 2:

You see, when you understand that all behavior is functional, in applied behavior analysis, in the science of applied behavior analysis, we do what's called a functional assessment and that's where we take a look at the behavior and we identify what is the purpose of that behavior, what is the function of that behavior, what is the consequence that occurs? That is, reinforcing the behavior. All behaviors are functional. So let me give you an example. A dog is walking down the street. You're walking your dog down the street and here you turn a corner and there's a stranger about 50 feet down on the sidewalk and your dog's afraid of strangers. And your dog starts barking and growling and lunging. Its hair stands up on its back, showing its teeth, its pupils are dilated and the classic example is correct that behavior. Give a lection collar correction. Shock the dog with a shock collar because you don't like how your dog's behaving. The problem is that behavior is not the issue, that's how it manifests. That's the outward behavior you see. But what you should be thinking about is what's motivating that behavior? Why does the dog want to engage in that behavior? Where is the function? Where is the purpose?

Speaker 2:

Well, think about it. If I'm a dog and I'm afraid of strangers and if every time I bark and I growl and I lunge and I show my teeth, those scary strangers go whoa and they back away, or my pet parent takes me by the leash and pulls me out of there, gets me out of that situation, in both situations that behavior of barking, lunging, showing your teeth, hair raised on its back, got distance and space from the scary stranger. That behavior is functional to create distance and space. And that is what the dog wants If it's afraid distance and space. And that behavior gets reinforced when it works when it does serve a function. You don't think of it in those terms because it's just behavior, it just happens.

Speaker 2:

But if we map that out, if we diagram that out, we've got what's called the antecedent or the trigger in this case a stranger and that triggers the dog's behavior. In this case we said it's barking, lunging, growling, showing its teeth, hair raised on its back. Those are all outward, visible signs of behavior. And those signs, those outward behaviors, are rooted in a conditioned emotional response that the dog has developed with strangers. The dog associates strangers with a threat and the dog begins to experience stress and fear and anxiety. That's what is the underlying emotional state that motivates the dog's behavior.

Speaker 2:

If the dog, if those emotions were fixed, if the dog did not have a perception that strangers are scary, if you could change the emotions of the dog, where the dog doesn't have fear, anxiety or stress associated with strangers, the behavior will go away and you're going to modify that behavior with permanence and reliability, because you're actually dealing with the underlying root cause. Now, if you're just suppressing outward behavior by using punishment and corrections and you're never addressing that underlying emotional state, if you're not modifying how that dog perceives the strange people. If you're not changing the dog's underlying emotional state as it relates to strangers, things don't get better and punishment is just smoke and mirrors. You might temporarily stop that outward behavior and fool yourself into thinking that there's been change, when there hasn't been change, it's just been suppression. And as you suppress that behavior it adds more anxiety, more stress, more fear and in the long run it makes things worse.

Speaker 2:

But, if you don't understand the science, if you don't understand what science is telling us, you could be making poor choices. You could be misunderstanding what's happening. You know, I can understand where people would think that punishment corrections actually changes behavior when it comes to aggression. You would think so. Maybe common sense would make you think that, but common sense isn't always correct. What does the science say? What is the science and the research say? Is there evidence to show any validity behind that?

Speaker 2:

When we deny science, when we refuse to look at the facts and we start creating our own alternate reality, our own alternate facts, that's when we descend into chaos. I mean, if we're both looking at a strawberry and I say, hey, that's strawberries red, and you just keep insisting it's blue, how are we supposed to get along, how are we supposed to move forward if we can't even agree on basic tenants? And when it comes to training animals, one of the basic tenants today in science is that you don't need to use aversives, that it's a choice. And based on what we know about our pets, based on the fact that they're sentient beings, based on the fact that they do have feelings and thoughts and they can experience feelings and thoughts, should we be training the dog with a shock collar Now, when we didn't know better, when we didn't have the research, when we didn't have the science, that's one thing, but it's a whole different situation when there's a multitude of studies and all of the big animal welfare organizations have all spoken out the American Society of Veterinary Behavior, the American Humane Society, the ASPCA, on and on and on. I could read many, many more. I could tell you many, many more. They're all in agreement. You don't need to use punishment that it's outdated. Those are old, archaic, outdated ways of training. Now, like I said, the dog training industry is not regulated and the dog training industry is fractured. And the dog training industry is fractured along the lines. You've got trainers that agree with the science and say, hey, you don't need to use punishment, you don't need to use aversives, you shouldn't use a prawn collar, you shouldn't use a choke collar, you shouldn't use a shock collar that you can train in any behavior with positive reinforcement. You can modify any behavior with positive reinforcement. And it's about ethics and animal welfare and how you view your dog. I mean most people view their dogs as family, any other family members that you want to modify their behaviors with a prawn collar or a shock collar Today, the insanity of 2023, here we are trying to make progress with science-based and evidence-based training and here comes along the dog daddy.

Speaker 2:

Augusto de la Vera comes onto the scene with one, two, three million followers in social media and this guy has no formal education, has no certifications and literally his method of training, and he focuses on aggressive dogs. And, by the way, all aggression, 99.9999% of all aggression, is based in fear. What animal, what animal Dog, cat, human, what animal goes into fight or flight unless they perceive a threat? Now, that doesn't mean there has to be a real threat, but when an animal goes into fight or flight, so when they're aggressive, when they go into fight or flight, is because they perceive something as threatening. In order to perceive something as threatening, your underlying emotional state is anxiety, fear and stress. All aggression is based in fear. It's the fear that needs to change and you change that fear and the aggressive behavior goes away. You punish the outward aggressive behavior and you merely temporarily suppress that behavior, because the dog is now too afraid, too intimidated, doesn't want to experience that discomfort again and it knows hey, if I do that, you're going to shock me, or if I do that again, you're going to use that leash and collar, but the dog's still afraid and you did nothing to change it.

Speaker 2:

So what does the dog daddy do? What's his philosophy, what's his training style? Well, if the dog's not aggressive enough, like completely out of control, he will provoke the dog and then he grabs the leash from the pet parent and he hangs the dog from the leash, literally cutting off the dog's oxygen and air supply. The dogs are crying, wailing, flailing around, fighting for oxygen, totally in fight or flight, because now they feel like they're going to die. They can't breathe and the dog goes into a state of learned helplessness. The dog goes in a state where it shuts down emotionally. Now, to the untrained, uneducated eye, you may take a look at that and see a dog that's aggressive and out of control and see the dog daddy grab that leash and two minutes later that dog is not showing outward aggressive behavior and you may think, wow, this guy's a magician, he's amazing. Look how quick that happened.

Speaker 2:

Again, to the uneducated, untrained eye, this may fool you. I mean, it's fooling millions of pet parents and it doesn't help that there are other dog trainers that buy into that system. Think about it. Watch the dog daddy. Next time when you watch him hang a dog, I want you to think about the fact that the dog is fighting for its life to be able to breathe and have air. It's scared to death. That dog merely shuts down emotionally. We call that learned helplessness in psychology. You can look it up, do a Google search learned helplessness. If there was ever a time, if there was ever a need to regulate the dog training industry, it's here today, at the end of 2023, the beginning of 2024. Now I thought we went back in time. I thought that we went backwards in progress when Caesar Milan came on the stage, because his methods are outdated. Caesar Milan's methods are not evidence-based, they're not based in science and no well-educated, certified, professional dog trainer would use those methods. We know better.

Speaker 2:

The dog training industry is fighting amongst themselves, but then there's no requirements for certification. But there are several organizations that offer voluntary certification. Now there's only one certification that's truly, truly, truly, truly independent. You know, like when a doctor or a nurse has to go through board certification, that certification process is accredited by an outside entity and the same outside entity that does the oversight and accreditation on doctors and nurses, their board certification. That same independent oversight is oversight that is seen through the certification council for professional dog trainers. If you do a Google search for the certification council for professional dog trainers, they've got a directory. You can find certified professional dog trainers. If you need more than a dog trainer, if you've got a dog with a severe behavior problem, you can look up a certified behavior consultant. But truly the only independent certifying body is the certification council for professional dog trainers. The other certification that's out there, the body that's doing the certifying, takes money from the trainers and also provides education and that's not third party and it's biased. Now I'm not saying that there aren't some good certifications out there other than the certification council for professional dog trainers, but that is definitely the best that's out there in the world, by the way in the world. But if you're a pet parent in 2023, rolling into 2024, and you get on the internet and you're trying to find out how should I train my dog, what kind of trainer should I get? What's the right or wrong philosophy? Man, I feel bad for you because there's so many different answers you can get and really it comes down to it's going to fall into one or two camps Either balance training, which uses punishment and rewards corrections and rewards, or force free training, which does not use a verse of tools, does not use corrections, does not use punishment, and that's the trend. That's where science and the evidence-based information leads us. But the dog trainers can't agree. Every other industry somehow has managed to agree upon science, agree upon a certain set of truths, a certain set of facts. They've been able to put together standardized curricula and education and schools came about and people went to those schools like you know school for if you want to be a mechanic Again, another industry that's able to come together on the science come together on facts, that they agree on facts, but not in the dog training industry. The dog training industry is like politics. I hate to get goofy, but where the hell else are facts so distorted Literally in the dog training world. It's insanity I just cannot believe.

Speaker 2:

You know it's one thing to not want to give up your shot color. To not want to give up your prong color, I get it. If you're a trainer and you can do things fast and quick, you get another customer. And when you can do things fast and quick and you get another customer, you make more money. And there is a financial vested interest in using punishment and using correction to get things done quickly. But what's the cost? The animal welfare, the dog experiencing fear, pain, intimidation. Plus we know that a lot of dogs that are trained with aversives. It creates anxiety, it creates aggression. There is fallout, not to every single dog, of course not, but to many. Do you want to roll that roulette wheel? Do you want to take that gamble with your dog when it's not necessary? When it's not necessary, it might take a little longer, it might take a little more work because you don't know how to do it. Like I said, it's easy to shock a dog with a shot color. It doesn't take any skill. Why you would hire a trainer to show you how to use an electronic color is beyond me. Why you would want to use one is beyond me when you start to look at the science and the evidence that's out there.

Speaker 2:

But we've got a lot of YouTube dog trainers. You know a lot of these influencers, these social media influencers, dog trainers. You know who they are. They're the ones that have hundreds of thousands or millions of people following them on YouTube, tiktok, facebook, instagram. That's not the real world. That is not the real world. You know, I've got a YouTube channel for my dog training business. There are very, very few videos up there. I have very few subscribers, very few videos. I am not a YouTube video guy. I don't do YouTube videos. For the most part, I don't do dog training videos Because, quite frankly, good dog training is boring.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'll say it again Good dog training is boring. You know what's not boring? But I think is incredibly unethical, and that is for dramatic purposes. Being a YouTuber, being an influencer and taking video purposefully causing a dog to go over threshold, purposefully putting a dog in a situation where you set them up for failure, where you can now film the dog's aggression and show the dog out of control this is what dog daddy does. He wants to show you the dog as out of control as possible. Then he wants to show you the dog under control and he wants to show you how he gets that done, so very quickly. And that's all for the camera. It's all for dramatic purposes. And again to the untrained eye, to the uneducated eye, you may think, wow, that's just magical. How did he do that? I need to know how to do that, because you so desperately need to and want to get your pet under control that you'll just about do anything. Now here's the thing If you are a force-free trainer, if you're a force-free trainer and if you are taking on cases where there is reactivity, aggression, fears and phobias, please tell me you know what the hell you're doing. Please tell me that you are able to get results. Please tell me that you are able to coach pet parents to have success, because you know what happens.

Speaker 2:

There's a lot of very well-intentioned trainers on both sides that don't know what the hell they're doing. There's a lot of trainers out there working that are positive, reinforcement, force-free trainers working with dogs that are labeled as aggressive and reactive, that are labeled as dogs that have fears and phobias, and you should not be working with them because you're not having success. And if you're not having success? What are you doing? Are you trying to figure out why you're not having success? See, because here's the thing your lack of success is food for the fodder for balanced trainers, because time and time again, and I get the same calls Balanced trainers are getting calls yeah, we tried that positive reinforcement. It doesn't work. We've tried that positive reinforcement, we tried all that treat training it doesn't work. Which is all BS. It most certainly does work and that's why I'm saying, if you're a force-free trainer and you work with dogs that are labeled reactive, aggressive, fearful, anxious, phobic, if you're not having great success, please stop and figure out what you're doing. Please stop and figure out how to have success.

Speaker 2:

There are too many force-free trainers that have education, but they're missing pieces. They're missing pieces. I tell you, force-free trainers are better educated for the most part. Force-free trainers are better educated for the most part than balanced trainers. But my experience and this is 35 years in the industry, folks, but my experience is balanced trainers have more hands-on experience than force-free trainers. We're not afraid to take on the cases.

Speaker 2:

The problem is, just like so many are fooled by the dog daddy Augusta de la Vera, so many are fooled by learned helplessness and shutting a dog down through severe punishment and thinking somehow that is training, thinking, somehow that's behavior modification, thinking somehow that's going to have permanence and reliability long term. And it doesn't. But I get it, because there are people with dogs that are aggressive and reactive and they've got to get these dogs under control. And guess what suppression does? It controls the dog. It's just temporary. That's my problem. It's temporary is my problem. And the animal welfare component is my problem. And the fact that in most cases in the long run it makes things worse, that's my problem.

Speaker 2:

But it's not the positive reinforcement that doesn't work. So if somebody says, oh, I tried positive reinforcement, it didn't work, you didn't know how to make it work, okay, you know, that's like saying, yeah, I tried running water, it doesn't work. Really, did you actually turn the faucet on the correct way? Because it works when you do it the right way. And it's the same thing with force free training. It's the same thing with using positive reinforcement to deal with these very severe problems anxieties, fears, phobias, aggression, reactivity.

Speaker 2:

If a trainer says positive reinforcement doesn't work, they just don't know how to do it, they are not skilled enough. I'm not passing judgment, it's just fact. Science, the research doesn't lie. It most certainly does work. But that doesn't mean that everybody out there calling themselves a force free trainer, that doesn't mean that everybody out there calling themselves a positive reinforcement trainer that doesn't use aversives is really that good at it. Now there are lots of just incredibly talented force free trainers. There are a ton of incredibly talented positive reinforcement trainers, but there's also the ones that are out there that aren't so good. So don't blame the system just because somebody doesn't know how to work the system. Don't blame the philosophy or the technique just because somebody doesn't know how to implement the philosophy or technique. So I get it. I get it.

Speaker 2:

People have these dogs that are out of control. They need to get them under control. They're frustrated. They've tried positive reinforcement. They didn't have the most skilled positive reinforcement trainer.

Speaker 2:

Because I'm going to be honest with you, since I've crossed over from a balanced trainer to a force free trainer, I have seen how there are many trainers in the positive reinforcement camp that just don't have the skills that they need to be dealing with dogs with severe aggression, fears and phobias. And they're trying to. They've got good intentions, they're trying to and in many cases they don't know that they don't know, that they don't have the skills. Does that make sense? You don't know that. You don't know, just like there are so many balanced trainers that because of confirmation bias, because of their own prejudice, they don't see the use of punishment and correction as an animal welfare issue. They don't see, because of their confirmation bias and their prejudice, the fact that these are sentient beings. And why would you want to use any kind of fear, pain, intimidation, discomfort with the fur baby that you love when it's not necessary, when it's not necessary? But if your belief system, if the only way you can fathom a dog being trained, is that you have to use corrections, you have to use punishment, that's your reality. But science says otherwise. But despite this, the dog training industry cannot come together and cannot be regulated. It's a joke. It truly is a joke when it comes to tools.

Speaker 2:

All over the world, in Europe, mainly in Europe and Australia, electronic collars and prong collars and, in some cases, choke collars are being banned and outlawed all over the world, not just by one country, not by two, not by three, not by four, not by five, not by six, not by seven. I don't have the studies in front of me, I don't have the list of countries in front of me, but there's many. 2024. Right now there is a bill I don't know that they call it a bill. It's in the UK, obviously. In the US we call it a bill before it becomes a law. But there's legislation going through Parliament in the UK and if it passes in February of 2024, I believe, in UK no longer will you be allowed to use a shock collar or a prong collar. They will be banned, and they're banned in most European countries. Will the shock collar, will the prong collar be banned and outlawed in the United States? I don't think so. I don't see that happening in the United States anytime soon. What is anytime soon, boy, that's hard.

Speaker 2:

That's a hard one to gauge. In the United States we're a lot more conservative than European countries and I think part of that conservative ideology is not wanting government to get involved and dictate what we can and can't do. But it's kind of like the Second Amendment. Here in the United States we love our guns. Don't you take away my guns, don't you take away my right to have that gun. And I'm sure, well I know with the balance trainers they believe it's their right. Don't take away my tools. And in their mind they believe that a lot of dogs are going to be euthanized. If you ban these tools or make it illegal to use a prong collar or an electronic collar or use aversives in dog training, because a lot of balance trainers look at it as, hey, this is the last resort Are you going to euthanize the dog before you'd use punishment Again? I can't emphasize this enough Punishment is not necessary. If somebody is saying it's necessary, or if somebody is saying that positive reinforcement doesn't work, they simply just don't have the skill set and they truly don't know what they're doing. They may have great intentions, but they don't know what they don't know.

Speaker 2:

See, I was a balance trainer. I mean, I started off back in the mid-70s Heavy, heavy compulsion. There was no treat training back in the mid-70s not where I came from and I spent years as a balance trainer. I spent years using prong collars and using shock collars and rewards and I'm here to tell you aversive tools are not necessary. You do not need a shock collar, you do not need corrections. You do not need a prong collar. You do not need to punish a dog.

Speaker 2:

To have a well-trained dog and to have a dog that listens to you even in crazy distractions, you don't need to punish your dog, especially if you've got a dog that is reactive or aggressive. Matter of fact, punishing your dog could be the worst thing that you could possibly do to your dog, but if you're a pet parent in 2023 and you get on the internet, it's not all that clear. It's not all that clear because the dog training industry is so fractured right up the middle and it's all about one set of trainers that believe it's absolutely necessary to use punishment and aversives and they don't want to lose those tools or that right to use it. They believe in it. And then, on the other side, you've got the force-free trainers that say absolutely do not use those tools. They're unnecessary, it's against animal welfare, it's an ethical concern. You're destroying the relationship with your dog.

Speaker 2:

And there are so many scientific research studies that have been done that time and time again have shown punishment is not necessary and positive reinforcement can do the job. And if somebody says again they can't be done, it's not positive reinforcement that doesn't work, it's them. It's them. They don't know how to make it work.

Speaker 2:

So will the electronic collar or the pro and collar be banned in the US? I say not anytime soon. Not anytime soon. Here's the bottom line, and I know that probably some of the force-free folks are going to beat me up for this. Look, you are not going to legislate morality. First of all, there are millions of pro and collars already out there. There are millions of shock collars already out there. You think people are going to come house to house collecting them If they get banned? Of course not. So then what? You're going to have the shock collar police. You're going to have trainers turning in people, neighbors turning in people.

Speaker 2:

Here's the thing. This is about education. This is about educating trainers and it's about educating pet parents in the fact that aversives are not necessary, and teaching both trainers and pet parents how to get the job done using positive reinforcement. When you do that, when you make it about education, change will happen. It might not happen as fast as you would like it to happen, and I realize that, despite the fact that we've got lots of different scientific studies out there, you've got a whole group of individuals that make every excuse imaginable. Why not to trust that science? But isn't that what we do when we feel threatened. I mean, think about the Salem witch trials, burning women at the stake, because we thought they were witches, because we were afraid. Because we were afraid and we did not understand how much tragedy has happened in world history because of a lack of education, a lack of understanding. And that doesn't mean you have to be careful. I mean, think about medicine. There was a time when we thought bloodletting brought about health. We thought putting leeches on us brought about health, until science said otherwise. Until science said otherwise. So I don't think you can legislate morality.

Speaker 2:

I think that even if the electronic collars, shock collars, prawn collars are banned and outlawed in the United States, I think there's enough of them out there that people are going to still use them. I think that If let's say that, let's say that you're able to collect and destroy every shock collar that's out there, every band of people, and every prawn collar that's out there, the person who wants to use punishment, the person who thinks that they have to use punishment, the person who thinks that positive reinforcement and force free training doesn't work, that individual or individuals, they're going to punish their dog. They're going to use fear, pain and intimidation, no matter what, if they don't have a shock collar and a prawn collar, maybe they throw something at the dog, maybe they yell at the dog, maybe they kick the dog. You know, I don't know if I have this act completely accurate and correct, but I heard a story. I don't know if it's folklore or it's true, but electronic collars were somewhat pretty much kind of first designed for hunting dogs because they needed to be off leash and the hunters and the trainers they needed to be able to communicate with these dogs off leash All right. Now, in the past, before electronic collars, when the dogs grew up and they wanted to punish the dog, they had rock salt and they shot rock salt from a gun, or they had a pellet gun or a BB gun. They shot the dog in the butt with the pellet or the BB. So if somebody wants to punish their dog, if they want to use punishment, if they want to use correction, if they believe it's necessary, and if they don't have the skills as a force free, positive reinforcement trainer to be able to get results, it's not going to matter. They'll just find a different way to punish their dogs. Now I know a lot of the force free trainers are saying well, will we got to do something, we got to start somewhere. We're providing education, but not everybody wants to buy into that, not everybody wants the education, and there's plenty of Science and research and evidence out there and it's just being denied and overlooked. So well, what would you have us do? I don't know. I you know they're in the force free training community.

Speaker 2:

The force free training community goes beyond Lima. If you don't know what Lima is, it's an acronym Least invasive, minimally Aversive. Least invasive, minimally aversive. And Lima allows for the use of aversives. It allows for negative reinforcement, allows for positive punishment and the association of pet dog trainers excuse me, the association of professional dog trainers that used to be called pet dog trainers, the APDT, the certification council for professional dog trainers, as well as the international association of animal behavior consultants, still leave the door open For their members and the association of pet dog trainers, and for their members To use aversives, still leaves the door open To use negative reinforcement, to use positive punishment. In fact, the international association of animal behavior consultants Leaves the door open to use a shock collar, even though they know the science, even though they know what's evidence based. But it's only the force free community that Does away with Lima and Basically says hey, you're not going to use any aversive, which I've agreed to, and I'm a force free trainer and I'm okay with that because it's unnecessary.

Speaker 2:

However, with Lima, there is a hierarchy In terms of how you train, and first it is About making sure that there's no medical contributing factors. Check the dog out medically Number one, first and foremost. Number two, train with positive reinforcement and then also train with differential Reinforcement. Teach alternative, incompatible behaviors to modify behaviors that you don't want, which can bring about extinction, all right. But basically Lima says hey, when that doesn't work, all right. If you got to use negative reinforcement, that's your next step. Now. I disagree with that. But, but. Can you get balance?

Speaker 2:

trainers To buy into Lima. Because here's the thing you know a lot of yeah, there are some balance trainers that first train with positive reinforcement, then they proof with correction and punishment. But You've got A lot of balanced trainers that are teaching right from the get go, teaching right from the get go with using a versus A lot of Shock collar trainers Start the dogs. You need to start the dog, you need to start the dog. Shock collar trainers Start the dogs immediately on the electronic collar. They don't first teach the dog with positive reinforcement. Some do, some do.

Speaker 2:

I think the better way to have to have gone Would have been to try and well, if, if balance trainers are looking at their tools being banned by a particular organization, they are not Going to be members of that organization. They are not going to join that edge, that organization. My contention is Get everybody in under one big tent and Get everybody to follow the principles of Lima. To me, that would have been a better place to start. I would have wanted to work on requiring regulation and certification and then, once you have that down the road, you can work towards eliminating those tools. However, I'm probably wrong. I'm probably wrong from the standpoint that there's only one country that's ever been able to regulate the dog training world, and that's Germany. Yet All kinds of countries have been able to outlaw and ban the use of a verse of tools like shock collars and prong collars, but I know for a fact that those same countries where they're outlawed don't have the same rules. At those same countries where they're outlawed, dogs are being trained using those tools all the time Behind closed doors.

Speaker 2:

It really comes down to education. However, education is not enough. There has to be results, and I think that when you make the claim, listen. Any behavior can be trained with positive reinforcement. Any behavior can be trained out with positive reinforcement. You need to know what you're doing and, by God, please don't take on cases if you don't know what you're doing, because if you're a force free trainer, a positive reinforcement trainer, and you are not good at getting results and you're not good at motivating the pet parents to do what they need to do to get results, if you're not a good coach and a teacher and they don't get good results, they're not going to blame you, they're going to blame positive reinforcement, they're going to blame positive reinforcement. When positive reinforcement works, just fine. You got to know what you're doing. Not everybody does. So we're getting ready to go into 2024 here in the next few days and January I don't know if you're aware of this, but every January is national train your dog Month and as we go into 2024. I want all of you To make a commitment that You're going to have patience With your pets, patience and understanding and compassion.

Speaker 2:

Look our dogs. They don't purposely try to do things to upset us. They're not stubborn. A stubborn dog Is nothing more than a dog that's distracted and you need to learn how to motivate that dog and there's lots of ways to motivate dogs. They're not stubborn. And those people that say, oh, my dog Not food motivated? No, that's not. Does your dog Not eat? How does your dog survive and live? Because any dog that eats and all do or they die they're all food motivated. It's a basic Biological construct. So if you tell me my dog's not food motivated, you just don't know how to use food in training. There's nothing to do with Whether your dog is food motivated or not food motivated.

Speaker 2:

A long time ago I had a saying that I had typed out On a sign and I taped it to my mirror, and I'm talking about when I was a teenager and the saying goes like this those who say it cannot be done Need to get out of the way. And I'm talking about those who say it cannot be done Need to get out of the way of those who are doing it. And that's what I want to say to all of the trainers out there that think corrections are necessary, that think that punishment is necessary. What I want to say to them is those of those balanced trainers that say it can't be done with positive reinforcement alone. Those who say it can't be done, please get out of the way of those of us who are making it happen.

Speaker 2:

If you're a trainer, if you're a behavior consultant, your job Needs to be Somebody who can represent force free training, somebody who can represent positive reinforcement training, not just for dogs that need to learn how to sit, lay down, come when called, go to their better place, not just dogs who need to learn to stop jumping and stop mouthing and stop chewing or going to the bathroom in the house. I'm talking about dogs that are very reactive and very aggressive. We need to do a better job. Those of us that are force free trainers, those of us that are positive reinforcement trainers. We need to up the anti honor skills. We cannot afford to fail and have a balanced trainer say See, told you Treat training doesn't work.

Speaker 2:

Positive reinforcement doesn't work. Positive reinforcement doesn't work. We tried that positive reinforcement. It doesn't work Really.

Speaker 2:

Whenever somebody says that to me, I go Okay, tell me exactly what you did, exactly how you did it. And then, as they start explaining the process, you find out oh no, they didn't do it right at all. Of course it didn't work for them. That's not the way it's supposed to be done. Let me show you how it's supposed to be done, because folks I consult with people all over the globe and the people that I work with have dogs with severe and I mean severe, severe separation, anxiety, severe resource guarding, severe aggression, reactivity, severe phobias and fears and anxiety. And I'm having great success Coaching people.

Speaker 2:

Virtually. I'm not even there, because really it's all about teaching you, the pet parent. You're the one that needs the training, you're the one that needs the coaching. You, the pet parent, need to understand how all this works and how to make it work with your dog. The best behavior can be done and how all this works and how to make it work with your dog, the best behavior consultants, the best trainers are the ones that can teach you the pet parent and are good at teaching you the pet parent. So for 2024. Just say no to punishment. Just say no to the use of aversives and stop thinking about what you don't want your dog to do. Start thinking about what you do want your dog to do and use positive reinforcement to teach that alternative behavior. Have a happy 2024, everybody. We'll see you next year.

Dog Training Industry
The Ethics of Dog Training
Debating Dog Training Methods
Banning Shock Collars and Prong Collars
Force-Free Training, Use of Aversives
Teaching Pet Parents Positive Reinforcement