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Food Reward Training

Firstly, I absolutely agree that there is nothing in this which is cruel or forceful, but really the bottom line is that this method substitutes bribery and a gadget for the old dominance and force method.  It is still training by human standards, not creating the bond which would make all of the click reward behaviour unnecessary.  In many of the "U Tube" videos showing trainers correcting undesirable behaviour in dogs, I saw little evidence that many of the trainers knew exactly why the dogs were doing what they were doing – only how to make them stop, and do what they wanted.
  
 In one video a trainer gave treats to her dogs when they were asleep – for being asleep!  For me, reward has to be as a result of the action the dog has just made.  The "reward” in this case was meaningless – they did nothing to earn it, so why was it called a reward?
 
A lot of the footage was complicated,  making a huge deal out of something very simple.
All of it was conventional dog training wrapped up in new packaging.
 
Of course, a lot of the PDL method is too – at first glance.  The difference is that we have worked to understand the underlying drives which motivate behaviour, and certainly some of the ways to tap into, and use to give signals that a dog will understand, are very close to the "old way”, but used from a basis of understanding WHY. Other ways of demanding obedience etc. are just wrong in our minds and have no place at all in the PDL method.
 
The bottom line is that we seek in all areas to work out why our dogs do what they do (and this can vary from situation to situation, personality to personality) and work with that.  One size does not fit all.  The bedrock "rules” may be the same, but the circumstances of the individual dog, and human, must also be factored in.
 
If you need to stand on a dog’s lead to "teach” it, and then give clicks and treats for compliance, there is something wrong.  Where is the free will of the dog?  

Of course, in our world, we need to train to a certain extent, because of the dangers OF our world for a dog.  No problem at all with that, and I have huge respect for those who train for assistance, guide dog, in fact any of the areas where dogs help us – and I am absolutely sure the dogs love their work and get huge stimulus from using their brains.
 
PDL is not about training, it is about creating the relationship with your dog which will make it possible for it to move on into any field the human chooses, without stress or fear.
 
Agility, searching, tracking?  Fantastic!  The method we call PDL is just the rock solid base for everything else – we claim nothing more, but consider it to be a vital beginning if you do want to use your dog for more complicated work..
 
It can be an end in itself (you will have a well-balanced, happy pet), or the beginning of the next step.  All we say is not to try to get your dog to pass his A levels, before he has learned to read and write!  Establish the bond of trust and all else is plain sailing – try to "train” a dog before it has trust and connection to you, and you may end up with a robot, or you may end up with a manic, but you rarely end up with the kind of relationship which most people want with their dogs.

If you take a puppy away from everything it has ever known, particularly its mother and siblings, you HAVE to step into the void – become the surrogate parent.  You need to create the bond which was instinctively and effortlessly there with the mother, and to do that you need TIME and patience, and in the place which will become safe and secure for your puppy.  Your puppy needs to trust and bond with you and your family, and become familiar and happy with the life it will be leading within that family, before being exposed to the outside world – and then only in small doses at first.
 
How many times have we been called to a reactive dog (aggressive toward other dogs/people/objects etc.), to find that "It all started when we went to puppy classes and this dog went for her”, or "She was fine with cars at first but now .......”.  When did these reactions begin?  Around 12 – 14 weeks, when we started puppy classes/walking/taking her to the pub... et. etc.. 
 
Too much too soon, and before the trusting bond which would have made the puppy feel safe when in the owners care, had been established.  Just remember how different your puppy’s view of the world is.  Try getting down to her eye level, and the world looks very different, and rather more scary!



POSTED BY: LESLEY HARRIS, DOG BEHAVIORAL EXPERT SOUTHAMPTON
FEBRUARY 13TH, 2015 @ 10:36:42 UTC

 
 


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