A friend recently contacted me about some things she’d witnessed at a local dog training facility. I was appalled to hear about dogs flipped over and slammed to the ground, pinned down by their necks, kicked and essentially hung by prong collars prompting them to soil themselves.
This facility must subscribe to the compulsion training methodology, which I have used with success on some of my dogs. These actions, however, are NOT compulsion training. This is ABUSE.
Compulsion training, or negative reinforcement, is not supposed to be about beating your dog into submission. It’s about telling your dog when the behaviors it is exhibiting are unwanted, such as using a prong collar and giving a leash pop. At the most extreme, people use e-collars which exhibit an electric shock delivered by remote control.
I absolutely do not agree with using an e-collar, and I’m not a big fan of the leash pop, but I do use certain compulsion training techniques such as a negative verbal response (“NO” or “uh-uh”) and walking my dog on a prong collar. (I hope my clicker training teacher won’t give me too much grief over this!) In my mind, giving your dog a correction is completely acceptable. The difficulty for most people is understanding the difference.
Compulsion training works amazing well with some dogs, and honestly, is attractive to many dog owners because it works so quickly. I used a lot of “compulsive training” techniques to prepare my dogs for their CGC test, such as quick turns that create a passive leash pop to teach them to heel.
I don’t like leash pops for training your dog because using active leash pops led to one of my dogs to shut down in our training sessions and refusing to walk or work. You could SEE the stress my dog was feeling.
However, I recommend positive reinforcement methods exclusively to other dog owners, with the exception of the prong collar for large breed dogs (simply because I feel it’s imperative to maintain control over your dog in public at all times, and nothing provides better head control than a prong collar). I will be starting a clicker training course next week to train the blind foster – who knows, I may be a complete convert. We shall see!
Compulsion training, when not applied correctly – as exhibited by this training facility – can create fear and mistrust. If your dog learns that some behaviors bring pain, how can you establish a true working bond with your dog based on trust? A mutually beneficial, loving relationship is not built on fear.
As far as this training facility, I’m not sure how to handle this information. Will have to think on this.