Obedience Training for dogs
Obedience Training for dogs appears to be the only dog training that today's generations of dog trainers know. So no surprise that it also is the only dog training that dog owners know and apply.
What is Obedience Training?
By its very name, all forms of Obedience Training comprise an element of lure or reward, or force or fear to get the dog "obedient", as well as some form of punishment for "disobedience" - whether the punishment is to withhold the lure or reward, or to jerk on the leash, or to raise the arm in a threatening way, or whatever else. When you expect the dog to be "obedient" then you must have some form of punishment when the dog is not.
The dog trainers who believe they are the good ones use only lure and/or reward, and the other dog trainers who also believe they are the good ones, and that only they can effectively train dogs, they use force and/or fear in addition to lure and/or reward.
What are the problems with Obedience Training?
There are many problems with Obedience Training, but the most striking problem is: When you use any form of Obedience Training, the dog behaves "well" only while you are there (if at all). This is because only when you are there with the dog, you can use lure or reward, or force or fear to get the dog to do what you want - or to stop doing something you don't want. And because the dog is aware that only when you are in an arm's reach of the dog, you can use some form of punishment when the dog does not meet your expectations.
Again the punishment may just be that you withhold the lure or reward, but you can't do that either when you aren't with the dog. And so whenever you aren't around (you are at work or grocery shopping, or taking the kids to school or the grandma to the doctor, or whatever), the dog is very much aware that neither (s)he can hope to get a treat, nor (s)he has to fear your use of force.
What are the consequences of Obedience Training?
The consequences of this biggest flaw of Obedience Training are manifold: from plain "potty accidents" to destroyed furniture at home, from running off and not coming when called to attacking children or the postman or anyone else when outdoors.
While dog owners routinely notice the ramifications of Obedience Training in their own home (although they don't relate them to the form of training they chose to undertake), the ramifications that Obedience Training has for the society as a whole are on an entirely different level: The mauling of children and adults by dogs wouldn't happen if a) the dog owners are always with their dog (which obviously they can't), or b) the dog owners use Behavior Training far more than Obedience Training.
What is the alternative to Obedience Training?
Noticing the inherent flaws of Obedience Training, Tim Carter as the founder of MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG realized at the beginning of the third millennium that we currently share, that Obedience Training needs to be replaced by something better. Something that better meets the dog's inherited traits and psychology. Something that doesn't mislead dog owners into believing that they have trained their dog (or that a professional dog trainer has trained their dog) when all that has been done is to entice or to frighten the dog while you were there, or while the trainer was there.
This is why Tim Carter developed Behavior Training to better meet the needs of the modern dog owner. And although you can find a few professional dog trainers who now use the term Behavior Training, when you look at their actual offering you see that it is nothing but Obedience Training.
What means Behavior Training?
Behavior Training as we understand it means that we behave in a way that motivates the dog to behave the way we want. Building up this intrinsic motivation is the reason why this kind of dog training takes longer, but also why then the dog routinely behaves the same, regardless whether we are there or not.
Our Behavior Training is void of the idea of "obedience" and "disobedience". There is no reward and no punishment for behavior. When you think about it, reward and punishment for dog behavior don't even make sense because dogs naturally behave different than people. So why reward or punish nature? Dog owners really have been misled for decades.
Instead, with our form of Behavior Training we merely change our own behavior when we are unhappy with the dog's behavior. And we change our own behavior in a way that motivates the dog to behave the way we want. This means we must be able to be conscious and self-critical of our own behavior, and we must be able to read the dog's body language. Note that dogs learn everything from what we do, and next to nothing from what we say. When you think "the dog learned my command", then the dog really learned from your body language.
In short, our proprietary form of Behavior Training raises dogs that ultimately want to behave the way we want (well) - and thus they do so out of routine - while all forms of Obedience Training raise dogs that very quickly understand that they have to behave the way we want (to get a treat or to not get punished) - and thus they do so only when they know they are being closely monitored.
The implications of using this different dog training approach
The fundamental differences in these approaches to dog training also have significant implications, the most striking of which is: A behavior-trained dog that is fully house-trained can safely be left alone at home while the dog has free run of the house and property. While with a purely obedience-trained dog you cannot, you rely on luck, and sometimes you come back and you will find that the dog deranged or destroyed something in your home, or attacked small children or whatever.
Obedience Training for dogs gets massively overemphasized, regardless which breed of dog or mix you have. But now you know what you can expect to get when you choose Obedience Training for your dog. So better choose wisely.
Can you give back a bit today?