I continue to hear that "Dominance Theory" and dogs being "pack animals" are outdated. All Positive, and "Learning Theory" are the new trend. They validate their claims by using such statements as, "it's Scientifically Proven." In fact, they go out of their way to disregard the "natural instincts" of dogs and the way dogs interact with other dogs. Did anyone bother telling the dogs about this? They still seem to think they live in a hierarchical society where there is a pack leader, a social structure, and Mama dog bites down on her puppies necks with her teeth to correct them.
People who provide Positive Reinforcement as service are all cut from the same cloth. They all say exactly the same thing because this is what they have been taught from the same source. They can't answer questions because they would have to understand dog behavior to do so.
The foundation of this training is fundamentally flawed. In addition, they make up answers and excuses as they go, to make it fit the mold. If they only knew the damage they were causing, they would stop and rethink their approach.
I can really see and observe training problems when people bring their dogs for boarding. One Example: The owner comes in the yard and turns his dog loose. The dog starts to explore. The owner calls the dog. The dog looks at him, then ignores him. The owner approaches the dog and the dog moves away. The owner starts saying treat, treat, and even uses the clicker. The dog just looks at him. As soon as the owner approaches, the dog runs off. This happens every time. I then show the owner how to correctly get the dog to come. It takes all of 30 seconds. The technique is based on tapping into the dog's strong pack instinct. The owner is amazed that something so simple can work so quickly.
I average between 5 to 30 calls everyday, 7 days a week, from desperate dog owners who have attended dog training classes that promote the Positive Reinforcement, treat based, clicker method. Each person who calls feels their individual behavioral issues are unique to their own situation. From my perspective it's the exact same complaints over and over again.
The conversation usually starts with the owner saying, "My dog is really a good dog, and smart, but he jumps on everybody. He runs out of the door and won't come back. He won't let us leave the house. He barks when we sit down to eat. He bites our hands. He rips at our cloths. He rushes the door when someone comes over. He tries to bite us when we go by his toy or his food bowl. He snaps at family members. He chews on our arms. You should see us, we look like we've been in an accident. The next thing said is, "we went to dog training classes and our dog does all of the basic commands perfectly. He heels, sits, downs and comes most of the time. We're just having some behavior problems we need to work on. We need Advanced Private Training." So I start asking questions. You say your dog does all of the basic commands perfectly. The owner replies, "Yes, he's very, very good." Question- When you walk the dog on a loose leash does he maintain slack in the leash at all times. Owner- Yes, unless he sees something he wants, then he pulls. Question- When you instruct the dog to "heel" does he stay next to your left leg and sit when you stop? Owner- Yes, most of the time, as long as I have a treat. Question- Does he listen and obey without the treat? Owner- Well no, not really. Sometimes. Question- Does the dog sit on the first command and stay until you release him (tell him he can get up)? Owner- No, are you kidding? Question- When you ask him to sit how many times do you say it before he does it? Owner- If I have a treat he will sit before I even ask him. If I don't have a treat handy I have to say it several times. Sometimes he won't do it at all and will walk away. Question- Will he down and stay from a distance? Owner- No. Question- Will he down from close up? Owner- Yes. Question- Whatif someone comes to the door? Owner- No. I can tell him sit down 50 times and he won't listen. If someone comes to the door I can't control him. I have to put him in his cage. That's what I want to fix. Reply, "It seems as if the dog really doesn't know (what we consider) the basic commands." Owner- Well, I guess not.
The owner has described a dog that is disrespectful, pushy, aggressive, rude, and untrustworthy. All a direct result of positive, food based training.
When the owner is told our program does not use food or treats, they immediately ask, "Do you BEAT the dog, cause I don't want my dog beat. I don't want you to make him mean and make him hate me. He really is a good dog." I then have to ask, "Why do you think the alternative to using food or treats is to beat your dog and make him mean?" They reply, I don't know. Well, I just figured if you don't use food you must beat them to get them to do what you want." I then try to explain that, in our program, we teach the dog in a way dogs naturally learn by redirecting and correcting inappropriate behaviors. We show the dog how to do what we ask. Correcting unwanted behaviors does not involve beating or abusing the dog. It involves communication.
At the end of our program your dog will not hate or fear you, he will respect and understand you. We use praise instead of treats or clickers. We explain to owners how verbal and physical reward means more to the dog than being bribed by the "human food dispenser."
If you have gone to one of these programs, ask yourself, "what did I really learn?" In trying to do the right thing pet owners can get drawn into the "non-corrective training trap." They are lulled into thinking their dog can be trained without any consequences to their behavior. The reality is, these programs go against the basic nature of the dog, and in doing so creates extreme anxiety, emotional torture, and mental fearfulness. The fact that we get so many calls is testament to this fact. We solve the problem the first time around. At the same time we educate owners, so they have the knowledge to keep their dog obedient. Owners who come to us first don't have to turn around and go elsewhere.
Actual e-mail: Dali is my 8 month old German Shepherd. We recently completed two 8 week programs at PetSmart and a 6 week course at the SPCA. She learned all of her puppy basics. She knows sit, stand, stay, lie down, shake, and does very well thanks to a gentle leader on loose leash walking. However, we are having some issues that the PetSmart and the SPCA training program did not address. Our problems are that no one can come to our home because she jumps on them, and bites (in a playful way). She has drawn blood, but I know she didn't mean it. She has had interaction with other people and dogs but this still is becoming a bigger issue since my husband and I have a lot of family that visits often, and it is not fair to Dali to have to be crated every time we have an unexpected visitor. The other issue we are having is the barking. As soon as we sit down it is a barking fiasco. Whether it is to sit down to eat, talk on the phone, watch tv, or just visit she goes absolutely nutty barking. And she will not stay, or come at the call of her name. When we take her outside to relieve herself she runs from us both and we have to chase her. We do not know how to address this problem. Your professional opinion will be deeply appreciated.
Actual e-mail: We need some help. We have a sweet, lumbering English Setter. I ran into someone that went to you in Audubon Park. Their dog was wonderfully trained. She even showed me how her dog listened off leash. She gave me your name. We've already had group classes and he does all of his basic commands. I understand you come to the home. I would like to set up private lessons. I hope your schedule will permit it very soon. Next Tuesday (9/22) any time and Wednesday (9/23). THE HISTORY: We adopted Marvin from Setter Rescue 3 months ago. We believe he is about 3 years old. Marvin is generally very well behaved on leash, unless he sees something of interest, like a squirrel or bird. I have been jerked down twice and dragged once. I walk him with a harness because that's what my trainer recommended. Your former student said you might suggest starting him out with a pinch collar. She said that's how she started her dog. I've seen them at the pet store. I asked my trainer what he thought. He said they were inhumane and teaching the dog to walk on leash just takes time. I'm getting all of these conflicting views. I not sure what to believe. I know we need help. The other problem is when he sees an open gate and a chance to run free. 2x this has happened to us, both this week. We have just completed the 6 week course at the Jewish Community Center. We live close to the intersection of St. Charles and Napoleon. We just want Marvin to be well behaved. Marvin obeys his commands, but he could be a little better. A workmen came into the house the other day and I could get Marvin to sit but he wouldn't stay. I eventually ran out of treats and I finally had to put him in our spare room. One time I was going to answer the door and Marvin ran down the exit stairs and knocked me down. Is this something we could work on? Please get in touch with me at your earliest convenience. I am willing to try anything at this point.
Thank you, Mary Rose Kent
Actual e-mail: I'm looking into trying to get my dog into training....again. Firstly, on your website it covers how the amateur dog trainer trains, but what exactly are your methods? Is it anything like the Dog Whisperer? (I hope not) I'm not too comfortable in having my dog fear me. I have a 2 year old rescued female lab mix that has developed fear aggression. She is good with other dogs, but gets stressed when she first meets them and is now starting fights. Mostly her problem is people, and she's territorial. She has snapped at the family and we called a behaviorist. I took her to the "Petsmart" classes since she was a puppy and she loved it. I know your site claims clicker training doesn't work (which is how she was trained). I will admit I had the positive reinforcement training drilled in my head for the past 2 years. I have been lead to believe that choke chains and pinch collars were made by the devil. I'm worried about using this equipment on Nebraska. I just don't want anymore trauma in her life. On the other hand, she runs from me when I call her, and I don't want her to get hit by a car one day. PetSmart has certified professional trainers, but,"will my dog come when called and listen to me and ignore any distractions?" "Will she stop jumping on people when they enter the house and not try to bite them?" The answer to all of the above is no. That is why I'm seeking a more serious method of learning. Please let me know when your next Metairie class will be starting.
This Website Updated: 1-1-2024 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).