Once I was taking her for a walk when Jerry, my husband, was away and she managed to roll in some dead fish. Oh, no! She hated baths—even Jerry had a hard time getting her to take one. How am I going to do that? Lack of control forced me to become creative. I went into the bathroom myself and got into the tub. Roxy, as she always wanted to be where I was, hopped into the tub right after me. Wow, that was easy! And that's how Roxy and I managed without any training or leadership skills on my part.
Jasmine, however, was a puppy. She was a blank slate and somebody had to teach her everything!
And so I got my first dog book. The paragraph that stuck in my head the most was this:
"Dogs are social animals and they will put up with a substantial amount of abuse just to be part of a social group."That actually made me cry and I swore to myself that I would never ever put my dog through any kind of abuse! Dogs have very little defense against the things we might put them through. They cannot call an abuse hotline nor they can move back in with their moms.
Putting emotions aside, what about the practical side?
I grew up at a time and place when spanking kids was a common practice. My dad actually never hit me, but my mom had temper issues and she would beat me up regularly. First with her bare hand. After she had her hand swollen and sore enough times, she switched to a wooden spoon. A number of broken wooden spoons later she finally settled on a hose originally used to empty a fish tank. That one made it through the rest of my childhood.
Having a first hand experience, I can tell you exactly the one thing physical punishment taught me. FEAR!
I loved my mom dearly, but I was scared out of my mind. Once, I don't remember how old I was but remember the event vividly, I was playing on the living room floor when I saw my mom rushing in my direction. Petrified that she was running at me I peed myself. Then, even more scared, I ran and locked myself in the bathroom. She actually even wasn't after me that time!
One thing all this DIDN'T teach me was WHAT I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING to please her in order to avoid future punishment! Not a clue!
Eventually I figured that if I sat in a corner somewhere, out of everybody's sight, I might be safe as long as nobody notices me there. So that's what I did.
(I love my mom dearly and clearly this stopped being an issue once I became bigger than her)
Considering ourselves superior to our dogs (whether that feeling is justified or not), shouldn't we look out for them and shouldn't we be able to find better ways of communicating with them?
How does having to resort to physical force reflect on us?
And how much less we achieve this way than we could with positive reinforcement techniques instead?
Not only that reinforcement techniques do not result in fear, they also provide an instruction as to what the desirable behavior should be—something that physical punishment fails to do.
Let's face it - using physical force with your puppy is simply lazy and, ironically, ends up taking much more time and effort than instructive positive training ever would!
Why? Because of the lack of instruction.
What do you think this is going to do for your relationship with your dog?
Why don't we all put away our wooden spoons, hoses, rolled newspapers and shock collars, and try to build a relationship and understanding with our dogs instead?
Our dogs do want to please us! All we need to do is to show them how.
What is Never Shock a Puppy Campaign?
Never Shock a Puppy is an educational campaign coupled with a fund-raising drive. The campaign was conceived as part of the Be the Change for Pets campaign initiated at the first BlogPaws convention. To find out more about the campaign and how to take part visit Never Shock a Puppy website.
Never Shock a Puppy at Champion of My Heart
Never Shock a Puppy: Promoting Pain-Free Training for Your Dog at Pet Health Care Gazette