Don't wind up with a drawer full of useless, ineffective gadgets, and a dog that's no better behaved then when you started.
How “Positive” is Positive Reinforcement training?
1.) Trainers lack a fundamental understanding of dog behavior. 2.) Owners are required to withhold the dog's regular meals so he will do anything for the treat.
3.) If your dog is not motivated by treats or toys, they will label him "un-trainable." 4.) They routinely require dogs to be put on Prozac. 5.) They limit human interaction with the dog by being the treat dispenser, and clicking an annoying*** button instead of hands on praise. 6.) They proudly display their “Certified Trainer” diploma, that was issued by a group who knows less ****about dog training than the average pet owner.****
From the Trainer.... "I am writing this in response to the dozens of phone calls I receive everyday from frustrated dog owners who have come to realize the clicker-treat reward system is ineffective, and counter productive. I hear the same complaints over and over again, of how the dog still won't listen after weeks of positive reinforcement training. In addition, positive reinforcement trainers will either put an unruly or difficult dog out of class, won't take them at all, advocate the use of Prozac as a training tool, and are quick to recommend euthanasia.They would rather put a good dog to sleep than do a correction. These owners feel hopeless and bewildered.
Studies have shown that there are 3 basic and consistent "treat trained" related patterns of behavior.
1.) A normal dog trained with treats becomes dominant, pushy, arrogant, and aggressive.
2.) A dominant dog trained with treats becomes vicious.
3.) A submissive dog trained with treats displays fear aggression. Anyone can claim to be a trainer. In reality there is less than a handful of genuinely qualified individuals able to render this valuable service. Hopefully this section will provide some insight and comparison."JCM's
What is a "Professional Dog Trainer?" Anyone can dangle a piece of food over a dog's head and have him respond...and anyone can push a button on a remote electric collar and have the dog react. However, when the treat is not there, and the collar is removed, the dog is NOT "trained."
Professional Dog Trainers have a genuine understanding of dog behavior. All professional dogtrainers; those who work with Protection Dogs, Army Dogs, Police Dogs, Drug Dogs, Service Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, and all avenues where having an obedient, well trained dog is paramount, practiceNatural Dogmanship. The program guidelines in the Professional Dog Trainingsector are very specific. Handlers taught to follow these guidelines were the original Certified Trainers, also called Master Trainers.
The so called "modern trainers," referred to as "pet dog trainers," have lowered the standard for pet owners. In their opinion, dogs need play time and socialization rather than behavior and obedience training. This is because they have an inaccurate sense of how they think dogs should be, and, in reality, don't really know how totrain dogs. (Keep in mind the majority of these "trainers" have had one or two pet dogs, or no dogs at all. They know nothing of dog behavior, pack hierarchy, or social structure).
If you have gone through a "Dog Obedience Training Program," and your dog has developed behavior problems, or the existing behavior problems have gotten worse, you have learned, first hand, the detrimental effects of the treat based, positive reinforcement method.
Unacceptable and dangerous "behavior" should not be the result of "Obedience Training."
Prozac is not a substitute for proper Obedience Training. It's use should NEVER be considered in an attempt to modify the behavior of ANY dog.
Any trainer who recommends Prozac is not worth anything, and is frankly an idiot.
Any Vet who recommends Prozac doesn't understand dog behavior.
DO THE RIGHT THING. TRAIN YOUR DOG PROPERLY.
Born out of the 1930's in California, the positive, food, and clicker based reward system, now used by pet store trainers and their spin-off's, was originally designed to encourage "special needs children and the mentally impaired." The goal was to raise self-esteem while ignoring learning disabilities. After seeping into the canine world, and quickly gaining cult status through the myriad of amateur trainers and entertainment based TV shows, the new goal was to raise the "dog's" self-esteem and exclude all else. "Don't tell the dog he's doing wrong, just wait for him to do it sort of right, then reward him." When looked at from the dog's point of view, "The top dog in a pack does not wait for a pack member to do the right thing then reward him with food. The top dog in the a pack immediately addresses any inappropriate behavior." When put into perspective this does more for the self-esteem and emotional needs of the human rather than for the benefit of the dog. According to the self proclaimed dog training extremists, any form of correction is judged to be a form of abuse or punishment. Even the simple act of physically guiding the dog's rear end into a sitting position or tugging back on the leash when the dog pulls is considered abusive. They would rather ruin a good dog than do a correction.
It really depends on what the individual pet owner is seeking.
"The more Certified, the less Qualified"
Did you know........ To receive a graduation diploma as an AccreditedCertified Pet Dog Trainer requires just 100 hours of classroom study, with only 10 of those hours devoted to hands on instruction.
Did you know...... DOGS TRAINED WITH TREATS & CLICKERS WILL NEVER BE COMPLETELY TRAINED. After training your dog should... Greet your guests in a calm, mild manner when invited, then politely retire from the interaction. Come immediately when called on the first command. Walk on or off leash, ignoring distractions, even where squirrels, cats, and other dogs abound.
When gathering information in consideration of taking a Dog Training course, here are some Red Flags.....
•When asked how to address a common unwanted behavior, the trainer says she has to ask her mentor because it's not in her dog training instruction manual. •If the trainer promotes the use of Remote Electric Training Collars for Behavior Modification or Basic Training. •If the trainer instructs you to not bring your dog to the first training class, or dog training Seminar. •If the instructor has such a rudimentary lack of dog psychology knowledge that he thinks dogs are not pack animals, have no social structure or hierarchy, and are not descendants of Wolves. •If the trainer references the manual or cue cards every time a question is asked. •When asked how to address a behavior problem, the trainer replies that he is having the same problem with his own dog at home. •As claimed, the trainer walks a dog right past pieces of fried chicken tossed on the ground. However, he is holding a similar piece of chicken pressed up against the dogs nose as he walks. •Program does not offer off leash training because of the "leash law." •When wanting to speak to the trainer you are told he is stocking the dog food shelves on isle 9. •Trainer encourages lots of verbal conversation with the dog. •When a grown man holds a doggie treat in one hand, a Clicker in the other, and babbles high pitched baby talk to your dog. •When the trainer shows obvious fear, and won't work with the dog until he's put on Prozac. (The dog, not the trainer). •When the trainer brags on himself to the exclusion of all else, and doesn't address the dog. •Trainer agrees that dogs are just furry, four legged people. •The trainer blames the owner and the dog when the program fails to produce results.
JCM's welcome the challenge of any Professional Positive Reinforcement dog trainer to pit their skills against ours.
The challenge would consist of 2 days of preparation. Each trainer would use 2 dogs in the demonstration.
The first dog used would have to be completely untrained. The second dog used would have to have completed the basic course taught by that particular trainer.
At the end of the second day, each trainer would have the first (untrained) dog: Come consistently every time called in a public place, off leash, (no collar, no treats, no clicker),
with distractions. Then each trainer would have the second dog (with prior training):
Walk off leash, (no collar, no treats), and heel with the trainer, then with the owner, in a public place with distractions. Any trainer who would like to add to this list, or participate in the challenge, please contact JCM's
Some examples of the JCM's style of Traditional Dog Training.
This is how a dog should be taught to heel. The owner is walking upright with the dog in perfect heel position. The dog is working for his owner and is a willing partner. Photo on right shows same dog working off leash 5 weeks into our program.
JCM's Dog Training teaches the owner how to communicate with their dog. Following our program, owners form a partnership built on respect. When asked to sit and stay, the dog patiently waits no matter what the distance, distraction, or amount of time. His only reward is praise. Dogs thrive on gaining approval, which motivates then to comply with whatever task is asked of them.
****Class number 3 in our 8 week basic group training program.**** JCM's trained dogs are focused and obedient. Our program gives owners the skills to have and maintain a well trained dog they can be proud of.
JCM's not only teaches the owners how to train their dog to down from a distance, but also how to have the dog stay until he is released.
Class number 4 in our 8 week program. Students are amazed at the progress their dogs make in just few short weeks.
Hands on praise with approval coming directly from the owner gives the dog a better understanding of what he is being rewarded for. This sense of accomplishment can be seen through the dog's body language.
Dogs rewarded with treats will perform the task then go directly for the treat, leaving the human completely out of the equation. In fact, if the owner does go to pet the dog in conjunction with the treat, the dog will appear to be annoyed.
In contrast, here are some examples of Positive Reinforcement, treat reward, & clicker training.
Positive Reinforcement Trainers would like owners to believe they can magically converse with their dogs.
They will also have you withhold the dog's regular meal hours prior to training class or a lesson, and even lighten his overall feeding schedule. Starving down the dog is the only way to insure that he will do whatever it takes to get that tiny morsel into his empty belly. After all, a dog with a full stomach and a satisfied appetite is not going to obey even the simplest of commands.
A major problem with food based training is that it creates a hand mouthy dog. Dominate dogs can get outright aggressive when the treats run out. On the right is an actual photo of an owner's hand who instructed her dog to sit using treat based reward. When she did not provide the treat, the dog bit her severely and ran.
Always working for the treat, this dog will never sit when asked to without bribery. Fanny pack brimming, trying to get the dog to sit stay would be a lost cause. It's a shame this owner will never experience the true bond of a great dog that would so willingly work as a partner, instead of a beggar.
Positive reinforcement / treat trainer showing an owner how to get their dog to sit. It's obvious all the dog wants is the food and in his mind he's in control. The trainer is nothing more than a food dispenser. Note the other students dog pulling to get a treat as well. This method teaches a total lack of respect.
This dog cannot be expected to down from a distance and stay because the initial training prevented it. Notice the down signal is given and the trainer even steps forward to encourage the dog to stop. Since the dog has been conditioned to a food reward, he comes in to get the treat instead of going down. The dog is doing exactly what he was trained to do. The trainer is at fault for not teaching the dog correctly.
One more side effect of treat based training.....
It is true that a treat based training program can put extra pounds on the dog. It has been suggested by some trainers to just eliminate the dogs regular meals in exchange. However, if the dog does get fat.... He won't be able to run away. He will always down for you, if you ask him or not. You can leave your front door open and he won't wander off. You don't have to make time to walk him to get his energy out. The benefits go on and on.
Think about this..... Your dog gets loose, and is running wild. Do you honestly think yelling TREAT, TREAT will get him to stop and come back immediately? Or worse yet. You run back into the house to get the treats while the dog runs out into the street in front of a car.
Or... What happens when the novelty wears off? When you don't feel like getting the bag of treats, or looking for the clicker. You tell your dog to do something for the sake of doing it and he just ignores you.
Without a good basic foundation, this is what you have to look forward to.
The one common theme running through all of these programs is "disorganization." Many of these dogs wind up in shelters because they are worse after training than before.
After going through one of these programs, people call and ask me about my private lessons. They all say the same thing....."group doesn't work." What they fail to realize is, they haven't had "group training" to begin with. They have invested in "playtime" where their dogs have learned to become pushy, disrespectful, and outright aggressive.
JCM's group training absolutely works.
Graduation class The best way to determine which dog training program is right for you and your dog is to watch a graduating class.
Below left: The Graduating class from a Positive reinforcement / clicker training program. Notice that all of the students are holding (restraining) their dogs as they struggle to get away.
Below Right: The Graduating class from JCM's basic Obedience Training program. Notice how polished the owners are and how well behaved and obediente the dogs are.
The other end of the spectrum.
Another training method that has been gaining popularity recently is the use of the Electronic Training Collar, or E-Collar.
These collars have their application. It is a necessary training tool for Field work when the dog has to be controlled from a great distance. However, when used in Basic Obedience, it is overkill. Having used E-Collars on occasion years ago, it soon became apparent of their limitations.
One problem is that these collars are heavy. The dog knows when his is wearing it. No matter how much training you do, when the collar is removed, the dog will revert to his old behavior. For instance, when teaching the dog to come when called. While wearing the collar, the dog will be letter perfect. As soon as the collar comes off, the dog will be gone.
Secondly, you have to carry the remote control with you at all times. In addition, you have to make sure the batteries are working. Also, these collars are fragile, and it's not that long before the electrical components stop working.
Thirdly, the collar cannot be left on. The electrodes will burn holes in the dog's neck.
Lastly, these collars are very expensive. The bottom line is, the dog will never be completely trained with the E-collar system.
In my experience over the years of being a trainer, I have seen a countless number of methods and techniques arise. A full array of human psychology indiscriminately applied to dog behavior and dog training. However, through all of these designer training fads, dog to dog communication has remained the same. The dogs mind has been pre-programmed over millions of years to communicate effectively with its own kind. For instance, a puppy doesn't have to be taught to roll on his back in submission and avoid eye contact in the presence of a dominate adult. Dog training cannot be based on human psychology. Most people can't think in "dog terms," as dog psychology is foreign to them. Human psychology is used as a substitute. Human thoughts, emotions, feelings and values all applied to the dog. In a desperate attempt to humanize the dog, owners and trainers alike don't realize the psychological damage being done. The closer the dog is trained from his own point of view, the quicker he will understand and the faster he will learn. There are consequences to everything we do in this world. The same is true in the animal world. So why do trainers train with this sense that everything has to be positive to the point of being angelic? When dog training becomes sugar coated, the dog is the one who suffers. Getting mixed signals and confusing messages only intensifies anxiety. Not to sound cliche, but from my perspective it is like putting a square peg in a round hole. Training methods will come and go, but the dogs way of understanding will always remain the same. My training method is solidly based on dog psychology, and that will never change.
Dogs are opportunists. If you give them power, they will take it. Dogs enforce their dominance or "Alpha" status through aggressive and possessive behavior.
Positive Reinforcement and food based training programs create dominate aggressive behavior which is responsible for causing more dogs to be euthanized than overcrowding in the animal shelters.
The Hobby or Amature pet trainer, who may lack experience and knowledge of dog psychology, will tell you that traditional training aids and methods are taboo, and that positive training is the correct, and only way to train. The hobby trainer looks at the choke chain and pinch collar and declares that these are torture devices. What else can they be? Surly, these objects can't be beneficial, but only cruel and inhumane. Just like the average pet owner, hobby trainers make assumptions based solely on face value with no, or incorrect, knowledge of their use and function. The hobby trainer's positive food based system may initially gain some leverage with the general pet population. We all know the average dog owner doesn't want to be "mean" to their pet. The novice trainer will show the pet owner a pinch collar and gasp right along with them, validating their fear and disgust. They boast that through their positive motivation training, any dog can be manipulated into being the well mannered pet that's a pleasure to own. It's true they may have some success with a docile dog that really didn't need much training to begin with. When confronted with a difficult dog or one with behavior problems, however, the hobby trainer will either inform the owner that the dog is not trainable (after making matters worse), or simply won't take the dog for training at all.
Professional trainers have a different view of the situation.
The professional trainer knows the hobby trainer's attempt to actually train dogs will fall far short of the intended goal. They also know and understand the value of training aids and there proper use and application.
It is the veteran professional dog trainer who gets the dozens of predictable phone calls everyday from frustrated dog owners when the treat reward system fails. The veteran trainer hears the same complaints from owners, over and over again, about how their dog still doesn't listen after weeks of positive reinforcement training. They complain that the dog continues to drag them down the street while using the "kind" training harness and toting their fanny pack brimming with treats. They complain that the door was left open and now the dog is running wild and refuses to come despite the treat. They complain that the dog will sit and lie down in a quiet environment under close control, but still has to be put in another room when company arrives. The sad stories go on and on. These owners reach the point when they feel that they have no choice but to surrender their dog to the traditional trainer and "questionable training devices." They look away, awaiting the corrections that are now deemed necessary to get the dog under control.
But in reality, the dog owner soon realizes that the training devices and method of the veteran obedience trainer aren't cruel at all. In fact, they are elated to see their out of control dog transformed right before their eyes. Training begins to make sense. The owner is happy, and, more importantly, the dog is happy.
It is at this point that the dog owner realizes that this form of training is based on experience, and understanding. It is the veteran instructor's practical approach to training that ensures successful results. The veteran trainer knows how to apply dog psychology, proper training methods, and the application and use of proper training aids.
Some trainers may claim to be "Certified Instructors," but the truth is that a typical training course certifies after just 160 hour or less.
So the next time a trainer promises you a well behaved, well trained dog using treats and a totally positive approach, just remember, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
This Website Updated: 2-17-2020 All information contained in this website is current, and up to date
JCM's Obedience Training Program adheres to the regulations and standards set forth by the AKC (American Kennel Club).