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Dog Obedience Training

 Reviewed 3 May 2019 share-a-picture Or go to discussion?join-the-discussion dogphoto

The Hidden Cost to Dog Owner and Society

The concept of "obedience" for dogs and accordingly also the idea of "disobedience" is:

  • misguided
  • foolish
  • painful
  • and costly

to the society as a whole, not just to the individual dog owner.

"Huh, what??" you must be thinking. "How can that be! The entire dog world is built upon obedience!"

Well, no and yes. YES because:

  • Obedience dog training is HUGE, yes
  • Obedience competition is HUGE, yes
  • Obedience in dog shows is HUGE, yes
  • The APDT, the AKC, and even grandma's tea party in the suburbs, ALL are keen on "dog obedience", yes
  • Obedience is so HUGE in almost every article and TV show that has ever aired that too few people dare to question the sense and purpose of the concept of "obedience" for dogs.

But NO because:

  • Dog obedience is misguided because the concept of "obedience" is purely human, it has nothing to do with the nature of dogs and how their brains tick
  • Dog obedience is foolish because an "obedient" dog obviously is only "obedient" when the owner/handler/trainer is nearby (if at all) and so the dog feels (s)he:
    • will be "rewarded"
    • or avoid "punishment"
    • of some form if the dog behaves in the expected way
    • But today's owner/handler/trainer has a job to do and cannot always be near the dog! Or can YOU?
  • Dog obedience is painful because it is this training to behave different subject to who is present that causes dog bite wounds, the mauling of children, destroyed home interiors, scared family members, and frustrated dog owners - even while the owner may have been nearby!
  • And dog obedience is costly because a training outcome where the dog had to learn to behave different subject to who is around is ineffective whenever the owner/handler/trainer is not around - which is often!

Dog liability insurers have the details, dog owners pay the premium, and victims pay the price!

This must end. This must end NOW.

YOU can be the tipping point to help make it end. Speak out. Speak about what you have learned here. Link to us. Send others here.

Dare to be different to your breed club, dog show, dog trainer, etc.

pt-rt-gr 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. One way or another.

What is Obedience Training anyway?

Dog Training Approaches

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.

Because when you expect the dog to be "obedient" then you must have some form of punishment when the dog is not. doh!

  • The dog trainers who believe they are the good ones believe they only use 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 some force and/or fear in addition to lure and/or reward.

Although often criticized, Cesar Millan is not so foolish to only use force and fear, that is a misrepresentation.

pt-rt-gr All dog trainers I have ever met or seen use lure and/or reward, even where not exclusively.

pt-rt-gr And today almost all of them use "treats" as the lure or reward, even where not exclusively, since the use of force and fear has gotten a bad reputation.

You may have seen this with household names like Ian Dunbar and now the youtube shooting star Zak George?

At The Cynology Hub MyGermanShepherd.Org we call that "treat training" and we reject that like all other forms of Obedience Training as the prime focus of dog trainers and owners, club functionaries and competition judges.

Why we reject all forms of Obedience Training?

What are the Problems with ALL forms of 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 near 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 near the dog, you can use some form of punishment when the dog does not meet your expectations. doh!

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. You see?

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) ...

pt-rt-gr 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 is the COST of Obedience Training?

The consequences of this biggest flaw of Obedience Training alone are manifold:

  • from plain "potty accidents"
  • to destroyed furniture at home
  • from running off and not coming when called
  • to attacking children, the postman, or anyone else when outdoors
  • or even attacking someone on the fenced property!

While dog owners routinely notice the ramifications of Obedience Training in their own home - although they cannot 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 would not happen if

a) the dog owners are always with their dog - which obviously they cannot, or

b) the dog owners use our proprietary Behavior Training far more than Obedience Training.

Indeed the cost of Obedience Training to the individual dog owner and to the society as a whole is SO HIGH, dog owners (and authorities) will wish they had known of an alternative years ago!

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 urgently 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 the 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. dumb?

This is why Tim Carter developed Behavior Training to better meet the needs of the dog and of today's dog owner.

And although you can now find a few professional dog trainers who started to use the term Behavior Training as well, when you look at their actual offering you see that again it is nothing but Obedience Training in a new dress.

What means Behavior Training - to us?

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 habitually behaves the same - regardless whether we are there or not.

At this point our desired dog behavior has become the dog's daily nature.

dog training toolkit


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 misguided 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. Hopefully, we want well?

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, habitually.

While all forms of Obedience Training raise dogs that instantly understand that they have to behave the way we want: to get some kind of treat, or to avoid some form of punishment.

And thus they do so only when they feel they are being closely monitored.


The implications of using this revolutionary 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 with free run of the house and property (to "guard" it, for instance).

While with an 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 the home, or attacked children or the postman or whoever!

Dog liability insurers calculate the likelihood of these incidents and set premiums accordingly.

In fact, drawing on our massive database of dog owner HELP! requests here, we can reliably conclude: If it wasn't for all those - even paid for! rolleyes - "Obedience Classes" & Co, then our society would hardly know of "dog bite" incidents. Spare for unethical and criminal owners.

And dog owners up and down the country (any country!) wouldn't lock up their dogs - or chain them! - which really drives dogs mad.

Like it would drive you mad too. You bet.

Since our ancestors for at least 70,000 dog generations have domesticated the dogs that we prize today, we cannot and must not think we can suddenly roll this back within 50 or what dog generations - just because we foolishly jumped on the fashion that Dog Obedience Training is. rolleyes

You see now?


Dog Obedience gets massively overemphasized by "professional" dog trainers, competition sponsors, show organizers, dog sport clubs, etc. And so by dog owners too. Regardless which breed of dog or mix they have.

But now YOU know what you can expect to get when you choose Obedience Training for your dog as your prime or only dog training approach.

So better choose wisely. Will ya?



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  26 Site Comments, ZERO SPAM: the spam spam-free oasis on the web grin Add one

  1. mosquito-passing

    I have 2 three months GSD female puppies. I want to train them to protect our family but the problem that whenever people come the are so scared that one of them even trembles. They are scared of everything.Whenever we take them to walk and there are dogs barking they want to run away. I don't know what to do. They sometimes don't obey my command. My question is, how could i teach them to stop being scared of everything and to obey me?

    • supportive

      You are looking into the wrong topic Eunice. "Obedience Training" is the last thing your dogs will ever need, likely never.
      And what your "2 three months GSD female puppies" NOW need is systematic socialization. Urgently. It's a continuous process. Start here.


    I have a 9 month old GSD. He was the largest in his litter and we get him at 13 weeks old. He has always been very timid and scared of people he didn't know. House guests, family members would all cause him to retreat to hide or lay down near myself or my immediate family. He is currently 100 lbs. at 9m, and after 3 dog training courses at our local kennel club he took his good citizenship test last night. After he passed everything there was to pass the instructor did the last test. Holding his paw and lookin at his toes etc. She asked to see the other paw and I said sure, thinking she would release the first paw and pick up the other. She reached for the other paw without completely releasing the first and it gave him a scare, he growled and snipped at the air in front of her hand a bit. She said he failed but that she should have completely released his one paw first. so I could try again after the rest of the class took their test.

    We tried again at the end but he already had a sense of not trusting her in him so when she reached for his paw he moved back and pointed his ears at her in a warning. She asked me to lift his paw and hand it to her I did so and when she started to look at his toes he aggressively leaped at her and almost bit her hand (no show of aggression, it was purely he was trying to bite her)...

    I am at a loss, he is so gentle with the family but so aggressive against anyone he doesn't know or see regularly. he is still scared of everything and even while acting like the biggest bully he runs and hides behind us after he shows how tough he is.


    Hello. My husband and I have a 9 month old GSD and we have had him for a few months. He does some commands such as sit, stay (occasionally) we can feed him while he's in his crate...he waits until we release him. He's not so great on a leash. Wants to chase every runner, bike or car. If he is off his leash in the yard he decides he wants to play chase when it's time for us to get him back on his leash. He runs away like it's a game. We try to tell him to come with hand gesture and he just stands there and if we get close he runs off. We take him with us most of the time. He's a great dog but doesn't seem to want to listen. I know he is still puppyish and it's so hard to break his concentration. Any tips to break this? Get him to focus on us when we need him to and not run away when it's time to go on the leash. Thank you so much!

    • supportive

      Crisandra, you are wasting your time posting your dog problem when the solution is right in front of your eyes. TOP copy from the above: Note that dogs learn everything from what we do, and next to nothing from what we say. So what part of what we teach have you applied, and which parts not, and why?

      Or maybe easier for you: What dog problem have you got?


    We have a two year old spayed female GSD. She is only likes our family to include our two other dogs. We have a lot of running room and she has learned the invisible fence boundaries. How can we introduce her to people who come to visit? In the past we brought them in and all sat at the table for a snack and she would sniff around and then

  5. mosquito-passing

    my GS is 16 months old. As soon as my husband leaves in the morning, the dog seems to go into aggressive mode with me, jumping at me, biting my arm, grabbing anything he can get that he isn't allowed to have, etc. He only is like this when my husband isn't home. He hurts me, and if I try to correct him, he gets more aggressive and lunges at me. I end up in tears. I shouldn't have to physically fight my dog every day. I finally have to get him in the crate (I can only get him in there with a treat) and leave the house to get away from him. I want to get a trainer but it's so expensive. I sometimes hate the dog, and other times he can be so sweet. At this point I couldn't get rid of him but he does scare me when I'm home alone with him.

    • supportive

      Laurie, sorry to read of your misery. We've been there, and the solution is not Obedience Training where you're looking, but to become the accepted Pack leader. From what you write your dog accepts your husband but not you.
      There is an easy solution, and I've shown it in many places. I appreciate that in this situation you can't wait to receive the Periodicals relevant to you NOW, but you could follow the advice in Q&A 1. It's only 99 cent, but in situations like yours worth a million.

      "I want to get a trainer but it's so expensive" - I would strongly advise against "getting a trainer", we here get to see all the harm done by ordinary trainers - and it's highly unlikely you would find a local TOP trainer.

      If I were you I'd want to learn myself how to build the best relationship with my dog. That's what this site is for. But if you have no time left (you have not now), I'd pay a tiny amount and get the BEST training advice money can buy. Meaning, even if you wanted to spend thousands of dollars, you wouldn't get a better trainer either. We make use of his expertise too.

  6. mosquito-passing

    I would like to receive your New Dog Checklist. Someone gave me a German
    Shephard a few month s ago. Thanks in advance. Be Blessed.



    Hi i have a 5 yesar old female german shepard (not speyed) she has nipped at my sister in law for entering my room a couple of times( she is not a viscous dog) im at a loss and i dont want to get rid of her she is my best friend any help would be great..i have a 1 year old daughter who she seems to be good with but i dont want her to nip at my baby either

    • supportive

      Scott, there is too much underlying this behavior, you need to subscribe and work through several Periodicals (free). Alternatively, work through the New Dog Checklist (free), and since it's free too you may also want to work through the New Puppy Checklist.


    Do you have any articles on Dog Behavior Training? Our boy Gunner is almost 5 months old and can perform many skills (sit, stay, shake, speak, quiet, lie down), but I would like to make these movements more instantanious. I want him to want to do these things rather than me just telling him and him getting a treat.


    • supportive

      We do not have more articles than what you can see publicly, no. Pretty much all our content is in our Periodicals that one can subscribe to, even for free. And Dog Behavior Training is a topic in several Periodicals, and core subject of a special Behavior Training Periodical. All that is free as well after subscription - which is free too.

      Other than that, House Training Dogs To Behave Well In A High Value Home makes a lot of use of Behavior Training. And the tools we use for our own Behavior Training are comprehensively shown in the Dog Training Toolkit. Both these books are not free though.

      Finally, for site members (not free) I am now working on video content which - obviously - will show Behavior Training, as that is what we do here.

      Obedience Training is for beginners, or you could say, for losers, because they lose out on a great relationship with their dog. mrgreen


    Hi there!
    Just got my girl today. She's a 3yr old GSD who went from homeless to the shelter. She seems to have aggression towards large men and homeless women. She has leash reaction or it's called "reactive rover". Or something like that. She reacts to all dogs and barks and pulls on the leash but tends to growl at people. She sniffed a puppy for a little bit and seemed ok until she started barking at the pup. In the same day she lunged at a man. Growling and two feet off the ground yet when she meets my friends she's fine and she loves kids and women petting her. Is there something I'm not seeing? Any particular classes I should look into?


    I have a six yr old female German Shepard, she is a very well behaved dog around people and believe it or not cats but around other dogs she will flip a switch and attack. I am at a loss as what to do.l have tried a choke collar with out much luck a muzzle wont work either she goes nuts when l try to put it on. Help

  11. mosquito-passing

    My lady and I are fostering an 11 mos old GS for a friend. The dog, Rico, has been from home to home in the past few mos. And we have a 19 mos old American Staffordshire. I am constantly asserting that I am the alpha, however, Rico still asserts himself as alpha. Always tries to be first out the door, outside, inside, car rides, etc. I make him wait until I crossed the threshold then allow my dog to come in first. We have had him for about a month now and he is always running into my knees(which are failing), and stepping on my heels. He is working somewhat well with signals and voice commands, but despite all the toys and my dog as a playmate, still years up my yard and possessions. I cannot afford a crate and our training classes. I Ann losing my wits. Any help would be gratefully accepted.
    Thank you for your time and experience.

  12. mosquito-passing

    I have a 4 yr old female GSD that has been crate trained her entire life. About 4 months ago she started having trouble holding her urine while my wife and I are at work during the day. We have controlled her water intake prior to crating her for the day, but she is still urinating in the kennel. We have tried putting her favorite toy in the kennel but the results have been the same. I took her to the vet thinking that she had a urinary track issue but the vet said that she was healthy. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    • supportive

      Charles, there are many wrongs:
      - obviously, she hasn't been crate-trained at all; apparently we understand crate training very different to you
      - water intake should NEVER be restricted
      - "prior to crating her for the day" - OMG, how long does she have to stay in the crate per day?
      - have you at least filmed how she copes with being alone, and watched the footage?
      - if she isn't ill, I bet she suffers terribly from being crated all day!

      Ever considered house-training your German Shepherd?


    My GSD is 13 months old. I have done 2 obedience classes with him, he is neutered, and is generally a very happy loving dog with family members. If anyone comes to my house (even people who have been over before) he becomes aggressive and has that deep bark. If I know someone is coming over I make sure he is in his crate. He is already 110 pounds and is getting harder for me to hold back if he is out of his crate on the lease. What I would like to know is can I use a shock collar (on the vibrate mode) to teach him not to have that reaction?
    He also had the same reaction today when I was walking him and someone stopped to talk to me while in their car. As soon as they started to pull away he went into the aggression mode. What else can I do to get him out of this?

    • supportive

      Heather, I am repeating myself but it seems I have to: Obedience classes do NOT avoid aggression, but RAISE future aggression. I have extensively explained why in a lot of my work (Periodicals and books), and what to do instead.

      You are at a late stage to react, the problems should have been obvious long ago, and experience shows, they will get much worse, unless you apply NOW what we teach in the Periodicals (and even then, in your case, it will now take a while to bear fruit). It is the dogs like yours (that became too strong for the owner to handle with "obedience know how") that end up in shelters! Very sad. And, NO, a shock collar will make your situation only WORSE!

      Here's what I(!) would do if I were you:
      1) I would immediately and EXACTLY apply our recommended Feeding Routine (see Puppy Training Essentials)
      2) I would get my GSD down to a healthy and more manageable weight (see German Shepherd online health assessment)
      3) I would urgently introduce our Behavior Training to replace your Obedience Training mindset and outcome(!) (see my book)

      And what I(!) had done long ago if I have a GSD: I would have subscribed here. But that's me. You may do whatever you like. wink


    I'm interested in training for myself and GSD female 9 month (LIberty). She has become house trained throughout this time. The has dog has been testing me on simple commands with treats, whether to listen...simple as come is difficult. Sit is easy, although stay and no bark are trying. Some dogs she will bark at and other people and dogs if prompted by others will react opposite of my command. I want to be trained correctly so she acts naturally but still in control on command when necessary. I have her on leash in public at all times, but in the backyard off leash with no fence. She has become of the boundaries of my property and neighbors and is familiar where I would like her to expel herself and where not to go, although she has proven to test me every time now. Periodically I will leash her to show my boundary limit, though I may be doing incorrectly.

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