A couple weeks ago I wrote a post that included discussion about the fact that Petworks over in Dartmouth had enlisted the use of an "Unleashed Potential" trainer to do their obedience training classes at their facility - and that company very proudly advertises their use of shock collars as a training tool - something that positive trainers will tell you is the most aversive - and the case can also be made for - abusive - tools, you can possibly use.
How would you like to walk around with a collar around your neck that at any time you have absolutely no control over - you have no idea when it's going to happen - the collar suddenly sends out a shock that takes over your entire body - you have no idea when it's going to happen, and what you did, or may do that caused it to happen - is not a fun idea (to me anyway) - and that's what shock collars do.
People who like "e-collars" would say that's entire over simplification, and it's not a shock, it's just a "buzz" - whatever....
There's no doubt that aversive training DOES work - but it's got to be done EXACTLY correctly in order for it to work - and that's the problem - if it's done incorrectly - and so many times it IS done incorrectly - that's what causes the problems. With positive training - at least you don't completely FUCK the dog up. With aversive training - you can really hurt a dog.
With tools like prong, shock or choke collars - they DO work - but if you use them incorrectly - you can make a dog that is very dangerous.
When I very first got Daisy my rottweiller - way back in 2003 - when I didn't really know better and was still figuring things out - I put a metal choke collar on her - she was a horrible puller.
And when she had that choke collar on her - she did not pull - AT ALL. When she was previously on her chain (she had been chained out 24 hours a day for the first 3 years of her life) she probably had had a choke chain on at some point - so she had learned the hard way that pulling on a choke chain HURTS. And to not puill is better.
That is the point of aversive training - you are only supposed to have to do the painful thing a few times - and then the dog GETS IT - and then the painful thing stops - and you don't have to do it anymore.
But when aversive trainers are bad or incompetent - that doesn't happen - and you have to keep hurting your dog - and that's where the problem lies. You have to keep on choking them, or electrocuting them, or pinching them, or hanging them - because your trainer hasn't taught you prooperly - because they don't know what they're doing - so they can't teach you to use the tools properly - and that's where everything gets fucked up and you end up abusing your dog - over and over.
And that's why positive training is just so much better than aversive training - because it really is so much easier to ignore the bad and praise the good. It might take you a little bit longer - but personally - I'd rather fuck up at "ignoring the bad and praising the good" than fucking up at when I'm giving my dog an electric shock. But that's just me.
There will always be companies like "Unleashed Potential" - because there will always be people who have highly reactive dogs - and that company gives them a tool that almost immediately makes the dogs lay down flat on the ground - why does the dog lay down flat on the ground? That's a question for you to ponder.
I had responses back from both Petworks and Unleashed Potential - and I wanted to post them here so that they could get their voices heard on the subject too, for what it's worth - so here they are -
Janet Chernin wrote to Petworks requesting a response, and this is what she got from owner Rick Swinimer: "Thank you for your input and your vigilance in this area. We agree that the use of adverse stimuli ( shock collars, prong collars, etc) are not desirable methods of dog training and that in the absence of positive reinforcement o...perant type conditioning are particularly repugnant and undesirable. We do not employ or endorse any such methods in our puppy socialization and obedience training. Petworks employs Dsquared Dog Training for our puppy classes and all materials and class content have been approved by Petworks and continues to be based on positive reinforcement operant conditioning methods. We have always based our training and all interactions with pets throughout our organization on positive reinforcement protocols. This will always be our approach. We would never allow any adverse methods to be used at our facility anymore than we would tolerate physical abuse or rough handling of pets or people in our facilities. Our policy manual clearly states this is grounds for immediate dismissal.
It is my understanding the trainer from Dsquared Dog Training has received some training from Unleashed Potential in positive reinforcement techniques including marker training, clicker training, positive handling, etc. That is the extent of the relationship and not more. I note that the information on our website regarding the trainer and Unleashed Potential is inaccurate and will be changed. Derrick Davis represents his own company , Dsquared Dog Training, at our facility. As you know, likely from your own experience and training, trainers receive training themselves from many different sources. Hopefully they take the best of those techniques and employ them successfully and humanely in a positive fashion with our pets. I believe Derrick is doing exactly this and is in line with our philosophy of positive reinforcement techniques. This is not negotiable here at Petworks.
and this is a response from Unleashed Potential's Ted Efthymiadis
Thanks again for posting our videos from the Unleashed Potential website. Every time you post about our company, we seem to get busier and busier. Stepping into the strictly positive methods with Petworks was a pilot project, and with this drama some have created, we will no longer be doing the petworks stuff. I'm glad to have this happen now, so that we can go back to really focusing on our UPK9 clients and growing that part of our company. Our trainer is still in talks to continue with Petworks because the current clients have been vary happy with out food training programs. If he continues, it will be on a basis separate from UPK9. You may not agree with some of the methods we use, so once again, I will invite you to come out and train along side us to see it first hand. I would actually love to meet you all, I love dogs just like you all do. Feel free to contact me to set up a time to see what we do. Once you have seen it first hand, then you can say whatever you want about it.... Best regards. I Love the haters... they just encourage me to become an even better trainer. Ted - UPK9 Halifax.