Hands up who's been tempted by a quick fix?
- Drop a stone in a week!
- Get rich quick selling this amazing product
- Buy this magical potion and all your health woes will disappear....
We all know they don't work.
We know, but we buy them anyway because we so want them to work.
You're tired, life is crazy. Who could blame you for seeking out a fast solution to your dog's problems?
We don't fix dogs because they're not broken.
We change emotional responses and strengthen relationships, which in time, changes behaviour for the long term.
Unfortunately, in this unregulated industry, anyone can call themselves a dog trainer or even a canine behaviourist.
Qualifications are optional.
Aversive methods appear to work very quickly indeed. Just like magic, behaviours can be suppressed in an instant!
Behaviour suppression is not behaviour modification.
The fallout of aversive training is difficult to quantify. These 'instant fix' methods are battery acid on your relationship with your dog.
They're also often short lived.
I'd like to just talk about loose lead walking for a moment.
There's an eye watering amount of equipment out there that promises to STOP pulling instantly.
Just purchase the magical halter, harness, lead or collar or whatever it may be and all your problems will be gone.
Except they won't.
Maybe it works for a few days, then that pesky process of habituation creeps in and you're back at step one.
Arm being yanked from the socket again and £30 down.
If there was a single piece of equipment you could put on your dog to stop them pulling - don't you think we'd all know about it by now?!
And dog trainers certainly wouldn't have much of a job
And there's also no single piece of equipment that will MAKE your dog pull on lead.
If I put on a tutu, it doesn't make me a ballerina
If you put a comfortable Y-shaped harness on your dog while they're learning to walk nicely, all you do is prevent them from injury.
They were going to pull regardless, you've just made the pulling less dangerous while they're learning.
Contrary to popular belief, dog's necks are not made out of reinforced steel.
When you yank, it hurts. When they pull, they are applying pressure to the delicate structures in the neck.
This is not safe.
Just as we hold children's hands near main roads as they're learning to navigate the world, we need to support our learners to stay safe as they learn.
For a different species to learn to change their natural pace of movement, it takes consistency, empathy and the right guidance.
Don't let anyone tell you that you need to yank, scold or choke your dog to achieve a loose lead or any other training goal.
Expect more from your canine professionals.