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I am blogging on behalf of BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network and the AKC. I received compensation for my time from the AKC for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine.

Dogs look to us for leadership, love and protection and to abuse that trust for any reason (even in a style of dog training) isn’t acceptable.  But, to be honest, doesn’t everyone feel this way?

Old School Dog Training or Adversive Dog Training

Growing up, it wasn’t unheard of to see a parent paddle their child in public.  Today, such an action will bring in the police.  Years ago, using force to train a dog may have been completely acceptable, but today, adversive dog training is monstrous.  I get frustrated with our dogs.  There are mornings when I’m not feeling 100% and Blue won’t stop jumping on me and I’m getting scratched, Sydney won’t go potty and is growling at Blue, and Rodrigo is barking like crazy.  I just want to scream “CALGON, TAKE ME AWAYYYYYYY.”  Instead, I take several deep breaths, I pray for patience, and I get our morning going.

I do not hit my dogs, because…

  • For some reason, God made me a dog mom and to harm my dogs would be an affront to the path that I was chosen for.
  • I don’t ever want my dogs to be afraid of me.
  • I remember what it feels like to have someone you love hurt you and I would never want to do that to another person.
  • We were trusted to give them a good life and violence doesn’t fit in that equation.
  • It’s just plain wrong.

Why Hitting Dogs Doesn’t Work

Joan Hunter Mayer, a certified dog trainer and owner of Inquisitive Canine, shared that hitting our dogs to teach them doesn’t work because a dog…

  • “learns to associate pain/being uncomfortable/’in trouble’ with anything else in their environment – other people, animals, situations etc”
  • will develop fear based reactions
  • will learn to anticipate, begin to panic (as displayed by their body language, behavior etc.)
  • can become fearful, leading to an increase in undesired behaviors (barking, lunging, growling, even biting) to chase away what’s scaring them

Pretty plain and simple; if I hit Rodrigo right after he chases the cats, he may become more aggressive towards the cats.  Instead, I put up the baby gate to create a divide between the Feline Foothills (upstairs) and Canine Canyon (downstairs).

AKC Good Dog Help Line

But He’s Driving Me Crazy

Oh yeah, I get it.  Sometimes my house is like Wild Kingdom and I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I decided we were a 3 dog 2 cat home.  Why do I keep making plans to adopt a fourth and fifth?  I spend a lot of time grounding myself, because I truly believe our dogs see and feel our energy – and, can you believe, that I recently started therapy, because I wanted to start bringing better energy to my life.

I think it’s important to be able to quickly find your “happy place” and when our dogs are really driving me nuts, I calmly escort them to their yard and take some time to calm down.  One thing I learned from the AKC GoodDog! HelplineSM is that most of the time when our dogs are amped up and driving me nuts, it’s because they have a lot of excessive energy to burn off.

I used to think our dogs played all day – nope, they nap.  So when we get home, they go absolutely nuts and have 8 hours of pent up energy to get out, which they do by barking, jumping, growling, and maybe grabbing a shoe and taking off – sucks when they do that!

We exercise our dogs (and with our dogs) regularly, but in a call to the AKC GoodDog! HelplineSM, I learned that what we consider “regular” may not be enough so we now try to “work out” with our dogs for 30 minutes to an hour each day and to shake it up to avoid boredom.  I’ll also be using the AKC GoodDog! HelplineSM to get new dog training ideas that will not only teach our dogs great manners, but stimulate their brain too, which is just as important as their daily exercise.

I Think I Need a Training Session

Some days I look at my dogs are think that it’s time to all the dog trainer; even if it’s just for a fun afternoon of something new.  A professional trainer is more for the humans than the dogs (in my opinion), because they act as a human-dog translator.  Our training watched us interact with our dogs and showed us how certain movements caused a reaction (positive or otherwise) in our dogs.  For instance, Sydney doesn’t like to be approached as if we’re going to pet her on the head.

When I reached out to a local trainer recently, I was quoted $120 per dog.  The AKC GoodDog! HelplineSM is less than $120 for a life time membership and I can call as many times as I need.  That’s a much better deal for our budget, since we’ve already been through puppy classes with each of our dogs to get the basics.

AKC Good Dog Help Line

For Those Who Swear By “Adversive Dog Training”

Going back to Joan’s description of what we’re teaching our dogs by using adversive dog training…our dog “learns to associate pain/being uncomfortable/’in trouble’ with anything else in their environment.”  I have to ask, is this really the relationship you want with your dogs?; dare I say it – with your “furbabies?”

Personally, I want our dogs to trust me implicitly, because it makes our lives more fun.  And one thing that comes to mind is that when my dog is running head first into a dangerous situation, following his predatory instincts, I want him to turn and come to me when I call, because he knows it’s always a happy experience.  He won’t do that if he thinks that when I call him (in my panicked voice) that it means he’s going to be hurt.

I know that we’ve all had days when our dogs are driving us up the wall.  I’ve lost awesome shoes, amazing sunglasses, and an expensive voice recorded to mischievous dogs.  It’s nice to have a help that’s a phone call away.

What do you do to keep your cool?

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