Updated: Jan 21
First, I would like to welcome you to our page, program & family! Now that you're here, you're sure to learn all about your pets' mental and emotional well-being. We are so thankful to be emBARKing (See what I did there?) on this journey with you! Please feel free to send us any future topics you'd like to see covered, as well as feedback on any ideas you might have! Today's topic: How come training is becoming so common?
In today's world, pets are a bigger part of the everyday family than they have ever been before. In the past, people purchased dogs based on their genetic or proven ability to complete a task. That task may have been herding, livestock guarding, fighting in a war, or providing the pawfect level of companionship. Either way, dogs were chosen for a specific purpose and reason. When a dog did not live up-to it's expectations, it was most likely euthanized, but may have been re-purposed for a different task.
Today, people probably still have their specific reason behind choosing the dog they did, however, their reasoning may have been something along the lines of "His eyes really captivated me," "We had a special bond," or even, "She was free." When these dogs are chosen, their owners still have physical and behavioral expectations for the animal. The difference between then and now, is that these expectations are often not disclosed, communicated with, or considered when choosing the animal to own.
This is frequently observed when you see that cute German Shepherd puppy living in an apartment. For now, it's okay. The dog is small, young & learning. What happens a year or two down the road when Fluffy's protective instincts kick in, and your dog is barking and lunging at everyone who passes you in the hallway, or when your neighbors can be heard through the walls? Suddenly, your cute little puppy isn't living up to the behavioral expectations you had in mind. Why would they? You didn't choose your puppy due to it's calm demeanor, low energy level, and tolerant personality. In this scenario, you chose your dog because a picture on the internet, released chemicals in your brain that made you feel happy, and now you feel that happiness is linked to the dog you knew nothing about when your purchased him. 50 years ago, we didn't have the internet to guilt people into purchasing animals they weren't ready for.
In today's day and age, many people view tools such as e-collars, prong collars, or even leash corrections, as harmful and abusive tools. Many people feel even saying "No," or spraying your dog with a water bottle will negatively affect your dog in the long run. When we fail to adequately discipline our dogs, we set them up to live a life of anxiety, confusion & frustration. This happens because, contrary to popular belief, dogs cannot read our mind. Choosing to ignore a behavior rather than correcting it does not tell a dog what is expected of them. How can a dog live up-to expectations if they don't even know what those expectations are?
Overall, the reason behavioral training is becoming so popular is because pets are not being properly selected for the job they will be doing, and pet-quality dogs are not being set up for success in regards to behavioral expectations.