Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Positive Reinforcement vs. Cesar Millan

Many are awed at the way that "The Dog Whisperer" transforms the behaviors of the canine companions on his show. His method of training fits more of the punishment line of dog training whereas today many have embrassed the more positive method of training with rewards. The popularity of his show has caused to some to rise up and denounce his way of training as cruel or even dangerous. This article from livescience.com focuses on the differences of punishment training vs positive training.

For many years I have been interested in dog behavior and training but I must say that I was never even remotely able to recreate and be successful with the punishment method. The punishment method can cause behaviors you don't want because:

  • Jerking a dog around tends to bring out the aggressive side of you and your dog.
  • A dog will not look forward to training and will instead cower or hide.
  • Trying to pin down a dog can be a form of agression and some dogs may respond with retailiation in the form of a bite.
  • Wolves in the wild have pack leaders without always battling within there group.

On the other hand positive training makes training fun for you and your dog because:

  • Rewards are always fun for humans and animals.
  • It requires you to be creative with your training and really puts the challenge on the human to come up with ways to communicate.
  • Dogs will get the mental exercise they need.
  • It will build the bond and relationship with your dog.

Many argue that a dog will only work for treats, but you will have to fade the treats out or wonderful pieces of chicken can become old and boring if overused. By building your relationship with your pet you will become the pack leader that they will look to as the provider of good things. Who doesn't want to follow someone who only does the best for them?

1 comment:

  1. That is how it is in wolf packs. You are just showing him who the Alpha is. And where his place is. I am not disagreeing with you I am just saying that there is Pros and Cons to all dog training.