Aversive methods are detrimental to animals - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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Aversive methods are detrimental to animals

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Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 2:00 pm

There are many ways to get from point A to point B. There is a straight line and there is the scenic route. Sometimes, it is how you get from point A to B that is important. You can cheat and get a 100 percent on a test or you can work hard, learn and get the 100 percent and get value from what you have learned/accomplished.

The same can be said for training our dogs. There are an abundance of methods and philosophies on dog training. Likewise there are lots of books. Please be wary of the different methods you use to get to point B. Do your research. There are still trainers and people that use aversive methods to teach behaviors. Some use shock collars, pinch collars and physical force to elicit a behavior. Please note that although these methods can work, they are detrimental to the animal it is imposed upon. At times we might want to use a shock collar on a child or maybe more often want to use these methods on teenagers - but we don't. Why do we use aversive methods on animals but not on humans? Do we have more rights than animals? We may be smarter, but does that mean that animals should have to be subjected to punishment and physical abuse? Humans should respect all living creatures regardless of their size or value to us.

Think about it. Can you push an elephant's butt down or yank on its collar to teach it to sit? No, but elephants and other animals can learn behaviors using positive methods. So what is a positive method? Rewards that are highly motivating work best. Why do you go to work? Perhaps it is the paycheck that keeps you coming back for more or perhaps it is your colleagues or you truly enjoy your work, as I do. Think about what motivates your dog? Is it love, walking, a piece of chicken or a favorite toy? Take the top five motivators and rank them in order. Use these rewards during learning. Note that these motivators may change over time just as they do for humans. In the long run, using positive methods to motivate your dog to learn new behaviors will be fun and enhance your relationship with your canine companion(s).

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Beth Friedman is owner of Canine Companion Consulting, which conducts in-home dog training. Canine Companion Consulting's mission is to enhance the dog and human relationship by assisting humans to better understand dog culture and behavior, which results in a happy, well trained dog. Reach her at (602) 790-9430, Beth.Ctothe3@gmail.com or visit www.CanineCompanionConsulting.com.

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