What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You (And Your Dog)

By Sean O’Shea

pro·pa·gan·da

\ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də, ˌprō-\
noun


Propaganda is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude of a population toward some cause or position.

Propaganda is information that is not impartial and used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively (perhaps lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or using loadedmessages to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information presented.

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A few days ago I posted a fairly detailed training video featuring our recent work with Gus, a 125 pound aggressive Tibetan Mastiff. The video chronicled both the owner’s journey as well as ours. 

At the beginning of the video we shared how the owner had already sent Gus to multiple trainers around the country, and although they had professed to be equipped to deal with serious behavior issues, they weren’t able to help Gus or his mom. (One trainer even had to have Gus picked up the same day he had been dropped off for a multiple week board and train because his behavior was so overwhelming.) So his mom was understandably nervous and skeptical about trying another trainer. But she was also having to contemplate some rather dire choices regarding Gus’ future if there weren’t some answers to be found. 

Later in the video we detailed Gus’s behavior when he arrived – growling, multiple bite attempts – as well as our training approach. We listed the tools (prong collar, e-collar, dominant dog collar etc) and our approach/methodology/thought process. 

The goal of sharing a video with all this detail is manifold. One is to give owners with serious dogs hope about the possibilities out there. Another is to advocate for/make others aware of the tools and methods we’ve seen in direct hands-on experience that have helped transform dogs and empower their owners. And lastly, to give tangible information about the process so others trainers and owners can leverage our experience to help advance their understanding, techniques and success. 

So we shared the video yesterday and received a bunch of awesome responses and praise. A lot of it was for Gus’ owner not giving up on him and continuing to look for answers, and others were simply uplifted by the video showing the challenges of a troubled dog – especially one with Gus’ history and danger potential due to sheer physical size –  finding some real help. 

And then in the comments under the video I received this from Ashlee R:

“This is disgusting. He had a distrustful aggressive dog in an unfamiliar situation and STARTS with an ECOLLAR?! Then forcibly crate trains (crate training is supposed to be slow, and an enjoyable and safe process for the dog). Even when he is walking and working on ‘heel’ not ONCE does he reward the dog for heeling. He just says the word and ignores the dog. This is not relationship-building positive dog training. This poor dog is being emotionally suppressed. It’s called learned helplessness. That is not training. He will be returned to his owner with more problems than ever before. This ‘trainer’ needs to stop. He’s seen one too many episodes of the dog whisperer and has an incredibly uneducated, archaic and inhumane methodology for dealing with dogs.  As an animal behaviorist certificated from positive and scientifically backed methodologies, this makes me very sad. If you think that this is dog training, I suggest you research what actual canine ecologists and evolutionary biologists have to say on the subject. Find a methodology backed my professionals that have PHDs in canine behavior. Google Ian Dunbar, Sophia yin, ray coppinger, Patricia McConnell and more. This is just pop science that does more damage than good. Remember, the dog whisperer is a TV show. It is edited. They pick and choose the dogs that go on air. Real animal behaviorist would have a field day with all of the things this man is doing incorrectly.”

Now here’s the thing, I get this message ALL the time! Yes, the names change, and the order or a few of the details are different, but all in all, this is a sort of copy and paste propaganda comment/message/email. They all tend to say about the same thing. The dog is being suppressed. Learned helplessness is occurring. This isn’t science based training. This is dark ages stuff. This is abuse. The inevitable Cesar Millan references. The dog is only responding because he’s afraid. The dog will be a ticking time bomb and be returned home in worse shape then he arrived. And then of course there will be a list of revered trainers/behaviorists/doctors that should be studied/followed instead. 

Me and every trainer I know that is doing great work, real work, saving dogs lives and transforming real problems receives this email or message, or some form of it, all the time. 

And typically I just ban and delete this stuff. It doesn’t even register anymore. But as I was reading this particular message I realized I was incensed. Not for me and my work, or the Gus video, but for you. You the dog owning public. You the folks with troubled dogs, trying to make sense of all the conflicting information. Trying to make informed decisions for your dog through the morass of rhetoric, mudslinging, and fear mongering. Trying to make decisions that could ultimately be the difference between your dog staying in your home or being re-homed, getting help with issues or staying stuck in them, and of course, even life or death. 

I don’t intend to be dramatic, but when you’re dealing with real dog issues – serious reactivity, resource guarding, separation anxiety, dog aggression, human aggression etc – not finding suitable and effective answers can mean dire outcomes. 

So this is why I’m writing this. There’s a battle being waged currently in the dog world. A battle where the Purely Positive/Force Free folks purport your dog’s welfare to be the priority, but the reality is unfortunately something very different. It’s a battle that prioritizes dogma over dogs. Ideology over actual welfare. Agenda over answers. It’s a weird thing to see a large group of folks, who present themselves as dog lovers, leading a charge that ignores tangible reality in favor of a belief system, and sacrifices dogs in the name of science and academia and supposed higher morals. 

But here’s the thing, you’ll never see these folks – not the well-respected and highly-lauded trainer/authors, not the veterinary behaviorists, none of these folks with credentials coming out their ears – show real-life work and real-life results with truly challenging dogs. It simply doesn’t exist. They can’t show results. They never have. Not with serious dogs. 

You have to ask yourself why this is? 

This is maybe the most important piece of information to take from this post. The glaring absence of results, the absence of evidence.  

And in this day and age of everyone having a video camera on their phone, if these folks and their methods are so revolutionary, if they work so well, if they’re so cutting edge, so humane, so scientifically stunning, how come they don’t have any evidence showing all this great work? 

Because it’s all talk. Convenient, well-crafted, smart-sounding, intellectually stimulating, brain-twisting, heart-tugging talk. Talk that is based on manipulating data and cherry picking the science that supports their cause, while ignoring that which doesn’t. Talk that is completely devoid of reality and results, as well as true care, for dogs or owners. (The knowledge of Pure Positive/Force Free trainers recommending even mildly challenging dogs to be put down is legendary, and heart breaking in the dog training world.)

So I write this to help you folks out there who are trying to make sense of this stuff. The folks who show up here after having spent tons of money and time on methods and tools that haven’t yielded any results. Those of you who have heard only horror stories about prong collars and e-collars, and how correcting your dog will create more aggression and compromise your relationship. Or those of you that have never heard about us, or trainers like us, or balanced methods and tools. People who aren’t even aware of these possibilities or options, and who end up suffering unnecessarily or putting their dogs down or re-homing them simply because they haven’t had the luxury of information. 

I write this not to drum up business or celebrate our training victories, but to simply do my part to try to tell the truth. To try to balance out the imbalance of the rhetoric. There’s a battle going on for sure. My goal is to try to help share information and results and to pass that help on to you. I don’t care if you hire us, hire someone across the country, train your dog yourself, or even if you prefer the Purely Positive approach. (It’s actually great for training certain behaviors, teaching new things, and can be helpful for cupcake dogs.) My goal isn’t to get you to buy-in to my method and approach or even balanced training as an approach. My only goal is that you have the luxury of all the information out there, that you get to see all sides of the story fairly presented, so you can make a decision that is informed and that resonates with you. A decision that isn’t based solely on cleverly-worded propaganda. Propaganda that leverages the PERCEPTION of science and academia while ignoring real-life results and real-life success. I want you to be able to make whatever decision feels right and makes sense, but I want you to have both sides of the story before doing so. 

The propaganda machine has been doing an awesome job of trying to shame and scare those (both trainers and owners) that use a balanced approach into hiding, into being afraid to tell their stories of success. They use fear to scare owners – that you will destroy your dog and your relationship, or that you’re just a bad person. They use fear to scare trainers – they show up in hordes on trainer’s FB pages and blast them for being cruel and barbaric. They spread information all across the Internet about how barbaric these tools and trainers are. (Who hasn’t seen the famous embedded prong collar picture that is supposed to show the damage a prong collar can do to a dog in training – meanwhile that was a prong collar that was left on a dog for months, if not years to create the same results embedded harnesses and flat collars create.)

I typically try to steer clear of the controversy and madness, but felt it necessary to jump in here. It makes my blood boil every time I see dogs and owners struggling and being sold a bill of goods that aren’t helping them. Ultimately the decision is up to you. And like I said earlier, I’m okay with whatever decision you make – really, I am. I just want to make sure you’re aware of all the information out there, and are able to weigh it and process it and then come to whatever decision feels right for you and your dog. 

I guess the entire point of this blog post is just to make sure that dog owners are aware that the propaganda machine is at work. That there is a movement and agenda that is out there working overtime to affect your feelings and choices, and that this movement cares more about its movement than it does you or your dog. So just make sure you’re an informed consumer, and not being swept along a river you didn’t even know was trying to pull you and your dog in. 



P.S. And for those who have been following Gus’s story, ironically yesterday when I posted the Gus video his mom also sent a detailed update email (he’s been home for a good chunk of time now) later that day. Here it is for those that might be curious about what was said earlier in this post (learned helplessness, fear training, suppression, and ticking time bombs never looked so good!), and to give you a different perspective, the owner’s perspective:

Hi guys,
This is long overdue but have been very busy here at work.  We are seasonal so the summer season is 24/7 for us until October.
I don’t know where to start, and how to express the amazing transformation of my world with gus, but here it goes.
When we left Los Angeles, we drove straight through to Abq, 13 1/2 hrs.  We stopped for a couple of potty breaks, and never had to use the e collar.  He heeled like a cream puff.  
We checked into our hotel, The Marriott in Abq. and entered into the elevator. (This is the first time he has ever been in an elevator)  I was ready to pop him if he made any moves, and then the door opened on the floor just before ours. We were standing in the corner of the elevator when 3 men entered. I broke out into a sweat, but Gus, he paid no attention to the strangers who entered into this small box with him and his mom. The men just admired how well behaved Gus was.  As we arrived on our floor, I let out a big sigh of relief. I was so proud of him. I placed a towel at the foot of my bed on the floor for him to place and sleep all night.  He slept with his collar on just in case.  When I woke up the next morning, he didn’t move at all!
When we arrived in Red River, our home, I got right to work.  No days off, no resting, no play days.  
I wasn’t sure how he would react once back at home, if he would test me, ignore my commands or what. We practiced our recall for 20 minutes in the house. I had to pop him a couple of times, but got him back into place. He’s fully aware that I have the power now, and he has to obey me.  
At this time, I didn’t have a crate that he could fit it, so I contained him the living room.  I know I know.  While I was out of the house,
I put him in his place command position on his bed, (Not mine) and hours later he was still on his bed.  
Day 2, we walked 2 1;2 miles up to the ranch. He was in again, a perfect heel. If he fell out of his heel, maybe a head forward or behind, all I had to say was heel, and he adjusted without a pop.  
When we arrrived at the ranch, we went to the meadow, and practiced recall.  Excellent!  We did this for maybe 30 minutes. I was about 50 ft away from him and
most times he didn’t move until called. I am so estatic with this, because before training, when I called for him, he would just look at me and ignore me. Now I have
control over him on recall.  We do this every day, You would be so proud of both of us.
I am so proud of his improvement when walking him. People around town have noticed a tremendous difference in his behavior.  When we walk, he looks up at me in a way
that I have never seen before. It’s like he’s asking, OK mom, what do you want me to do now!  It just melts my heart.
He doesn’t charge the fence when dogs walk by, he doesn’t go crazy in the car when dogs go by. (All stuff he used to do!)
Two nights ago, I brought him out to the lobby of the hotel/restaurant. I was very careful and very aware of his posture, demeanor around everybody. I told him to place and he remained there. It just keeps getting better and better. I don’t know how to thank you for literally saving Gus’s life, and mine. I am eternally grateful to you and your wonderful staff for not giving up on Gus, when others did.
For those of you who think you cannot leave your precious baby for 3 weeks at this facility for board and train, it will be the most difficult thing you will have to go through. You think, oh my god, my dog has never ever been away from me, he won’t survive.  He will and so will you. If you have any hesitation because of this, please do your dog and yourself justice, let Sean and his team help you. You will not regret it.  
I can go on and on but I think I’ve said enough for now. 
I will be taking videos of our walks and sending them to you.  
Also, I have asked a few friends of mine to write a couple of testimonials on Gus. 
Keep up the incredible work, you have saved and changed so many lives, I wish there were more people out there who cared as much as you do.
Love to Sean and the team
Priscilla

PS  Can I use the e collar forever, and how long do they last?

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23 comments
  1. Lise Lo said:

    Sean, you do great work and you prove that whatever you do works. I use to follow Cesar Millan’s training method at first but it’s not until I found you that I realized that the way you train is even more effective, makes sense and works on every dog I’ve boarded.

    There will always be people out there who aren’t as open minded and who only believe what they believe..
    Lee and I will see you in October for some shadowing and trust me, we are SO excited to work with your crew and learn more than we already have.

  2. ablewebs said:

    Fortunately, some of us have educated ourselves very well and can make our own decisions in life. Not being a sheep helps! I chose an e-collar for Lucy long before I found your site, Sean, but your work has helped my to fine-tune the things I hadn’t yet succeeded at… like Lucy’s occasional leash reactivity. I love your work… and I truly appreciate your willingness to put yourself out there, front and centre, for us. I read every word you write and watch every video and Q&A session. You have changed my life and Lucy’s, too. Our beloved walks are now 100% enjoyable. I have learned how to use space to advocate for Lucy and I now understand exactly how to correct her (at the right level) when needed. Now she barely glances at another dog; she looks at me instead… with her lovely, soft, ears-back expression. No more targeting other dogs! A couple of times when she did react, it was because I had not advocated for her and I had put her in an untenable position where the pressure was just too great. Very good lessons for me! Also, I handled the situations with ease and we calmly went on our way. No more pounding heart, adrenaline rush, or days of fear that it would happen again. Why? Because I knew exactly what I had done wrong… and I’m a fast learner, so I won’t put Lucy in those situations again. Not until she’s had many more months to proof her new found behaviour!

  3. Thank you for sharing Sean. You are amazing. I’m impressed at how you handled the b.s. in such a humble and kind way. I was fuming 🙂 I have watched the video on Gus several times and not one person can refute the clear evidence in front of them. Keep doing what you do and know that so many support you!!

  4. Sean, thank you for this post!

    A mutual friend of ours (no names here to protect her privacy) has convinced me over the last several months – and especially these last few weeks – that your/Jeff’s methodologies are far from the cruel, Medieval ones that the pure positive/force free advocates claim them to be. I still think that the prong collars look like Medieval torture devices — which is why I’ve been so hesitant about using one on my sweet, young hooligan — but I went ahead and bought a Herm-Sprenger one anyway after our friend proved to me that used properly, it’s not going to harm my dog in the least. When our friend returns from a business trip, she will work with us so I know how to use the collar. I would never buy one from any of the big-box stores like Petco that have the really rough edges. I can easily see how those can frighten any animal.

    I am certified (is there such a word as “certificated”? I’ve never seen it in any dictionary!) as a dog obedience training instructor by the Animal Behavior College. While the school tries to present a balanced approach to training, it does lean more towards purely positive/force free. And my mentor trainer was definitely a purely positive advocate. While the purely positive works great with “cupcake” dogs as you pointed out, I know for a fact that it doesn’t always work for more challenging ones. I prefer the balanced approach. But I also know that it’s much harder to train a dog with whom there is an emotional attachment, especially when that dog is a bit of a challenge to begin with. And it’s especially challenging when you have a spouse who is uncooperative almost every step of the way. Or, perhaps I should say presents his/her own set of challenges. 😦

  5. Doug H said:

    If for no other reason, Sean O’Shea is a remarkable person for being in the public eye of trainers because he uses the proven tools that are available. Prong collars have existed for many decades and basic electronic collars have been around since the early 1990s. They are tools to use correctly. Steak knives are not railed upon because men stab their wives with them. A tool is useful and beneficial by its correct use, versus misuse.
    To tell an audience and demonstrate the correct use of both collar types is a service to America and helps to expose the ideology of ‘pure positive’ (a phrase that on its face makes no sense).

  6. johanna said:

    awesome sean-
    keep up the good work-
    balanced is always better–in everything in life, and especially in Nature.

    one thing that folks can keep in mind is that the more ”difficult” a dog may be, the better dog they are after training and full effective communication is established. these more ”difficult” dogs are truly some of the best, smartest, deepest dogs out there and only need an owner/trainer that can match their motivation and depth of character. it does require a balanced, fair, structured, followed through approach to learn about and educate these dogs–just as in people/kids!

    these dogs deserve more than a chance–they deserve to be functioning members of society and their home–where they can really make a difference in people’s lives….
    euthanizing them because they are ”too this or too that” or can’t be trained using cookies, is so heartbreaking and in the long run, such a detriment to society, the animal world and the behavior world. in learning how to communicate effectively with these animals we learn more about ourselves, Nature, dogs, and the deeper Truths of how things really work. it’s quite awesome and the opportunity should never be missed.

    • ablewebs said:

      Thank you for that, Johanna. Very well said… and touching as well.

  7. Terry said:

    I have been a student, so to speak, of Sean’s for several years. I have never seen any of his work that I would consider to harsh. Ashlee R. lost my attention when she stated, “As an animal behaviorist certificated from positive and scientifically backed methodologies”. I would rather have someone train my dog that can show and prove their work through videos than someone who has never worked with a dog like Gus and only has a bunch of so called certification certificates hanging on their wall. Talk is easy, backing up what you say through video is the only true way to prove you can do what you say you are going to do. I think we are all waiting for an ” animal behaviorist certificated from positive and scientifically backed methodologies” to even attempt to train a dog like Gus. Don’t hold your breathe because you will never see a positive trainer even attempt to train a dog like Gus, there is absolutely no way it can be done using all positive methods. I challenge Ashlee R. to make a video of herself training, from start to finish, a dog as massive and aggressive as Gus while using only positive methods. Guess what guys, you will never see her accept this challenge because even with all her certification and scientifically back methodologies she will NEVER be able to accomplish or even come close to accomplishing what Sean did with Gus. So, Ashlee R., put up or SHUT UP!

    • Lise Lo said:

      ^ *TWO THUMBS UP TERRY!

  8. gemmari said:

    I’m all for using positive training as a starting point. We accomplished a lot with positive training but there were times we needed a more balanced approach. I think the few times we used an e-collar or prong hurt ME more than the dog. He learned quickly and remained strongly bonded to me. He was a rescue with issues but even those were pretty minor compared to the type of things you handle.

    I honestly don’t think jumping to the e-collar or prong as a first resort to train an ‘easy’ dog is necessary BUT you don’t work with easy dogs. By the time dogs come to you, people have tried all of the easy stuff and it didn’t work. You’re also experienced. Prong collars and e-collars in inexperienced hands can cause a a lot of trouble, sometimes more trouble than they solve. In the hands of a professional trainer though, they can do a lot of good. In the careful hands of an educated owner, they can help. Yes, they can be misused and they can do harm but that’s the fault of the user, not the tool. The work you do with dogs others have given up on is nothing short of amazing.

    I was reading an article a few weeks ago where someone said that even using “wrong” in a neutral voice or another form of no-treat-marker in a purely informational way was punishment and should never be done. They argued that any form of “no” goes against positive training. Really? I should never tell my dog that what he’s doing isn’t correct and there will be no reward down that path? Ridiculous. Taking things to that extreme is not balanced and it creates dogs who are bratty and emotionally unbalanced.

    • ablewebs said:

      Oh my goodness, my dog would be a wreck without the boundaries I set for her. Instead, she is calm, obedient and welcome everywhere we go. She has overcome separation anxiety, leash aggression and over-excitability. On our walks, she used to have the “Squirrel!” mentality, but now she barely notices squirrels, just happily trots along, ears back and forehead relaxed. For months I tried positive reinforcement to change her behaviour… nothing! The e-collar changed her thinking in minutes! We have so much fun now… fun we couldn’t have had without clear boundaries. She doesn’t jump on the couch or on the bed unless invited. She maintains her place for as long as needed. She’s just a really good girl and therefore she gets to do so much more! Her life is secure, happy and filled with adventures. She lost nothing… and gained everything!

      • gemmari said:

        Exactly. There were a several times I struggled to teach Casper something with positive training methods. I’m pretty sure we were both pretty frustrated by the lack of progress because he’s super sensitive and knew I wasn’t happy but I couldn’t figure out how to communicate with him WHY I was not pleased because pure positive doesn’t have the vocabulary. An e-collar was clear communication that he needed. I could practically see the light bulb go on over his head when he finally understood.

        Despite the issues Casper came to me with, he’s pretty close to a cupcake dog. I used to have a wolf-dog that needed pretty much constant NILF and regular prong work (both after guidance from a professional trainer) from around two years of age until she died at 15. She was always testing because it was just in her nature. And we always had to be firm and consistent because anything less resulted in trouble very quickly. Anyone who breeds a high-content wolf-dog to a hard-temperament working-line schutzhund-titled GSD and lets someone adopt one of the resulting pups as a family pet is an idiot. She wasn’t really a bad dog but she was … difficult.

        Casper doesn’t feel that need to constantly test. He just needed me to spell things out to him clearly. I still use a primarily positive approach with him and he constantly amazes me with what he can learn but I’m less hesitant with a “no” now and both of us have benefited. Our biggest problem is that he thinks too much and is always learning…and not necessarily what I intended to teach him. I guess I have to expect that from a poodle-mix.

  9. Kathy Colmer said:

    First, I want to say a huge “thank you!” to Sean for advocating that these “barbaric” tools can be life changing for you and your dog. You are so courageous! People with public agendas can be so hateful and mean and by sticking yourself out there, Sean, I can’t imagine the insults and hate that have been lobbed at you! Thank you for your courage! I preach your methods whenever I can.

    I have three rescue dogs, two coonhounds and a collie mix. All came with baggage. I’ve spent the last year teaching myself about dog training methodologies and crafting my own opinion on all of it. Here’s what I’ve decided: The positive approach is good to a point, especially with puppies. But with dogs with baggage, they need more help than that. To help with my most difficult dog, I accessed several positive approach trainers. One told me to rehome my dog. The others’ suggestions did not help. Thankfully, I found you and began to rethink things. I bought the Herm Sprenger but was too anxious about using it wrong to use it. It sat in a drawer until one day when a dear pet sitter asked if she could try it. She showed me how it went on and “held my hand”. I couldn’t believe how life changing just this one tool was! Suddenly walks were so nice! I had tried the Gentle Leader face and leg harnesses. My dogs hated them! They would look away and hide under the table when I got them out and one dog pouted the entire time I had them on her. But with the prong, they jumped excitedly to go out with me and walked happily by my side, rarely needing a correction after they figured out how it worked and what I wanted. And the correction I did give was so gentle compared to the yanking, pulling, and choking that happened on the flat buckle collar.

    The proof is in the pudding!! I, too, searched long and hard for videos with results from the “positive only” trainers. Often, if they addressed difficult behaviors at all, there would be an idea on how to solve it but no follow up showing that it actually worked. I kept coming back to your videos, Sean, and my own experience with my dogs and saying “Wait a minute, people! I don’t see you coming up with results!” “Where’s the proof!?”

    A friend of mine rescued a hound about the same time I rescued my second dog, also a hound. We both were interested in training and took classes with our dogs. He routinely told me he didn’t want to “hurt” his dog when I talked about my success with the prong collar and other tools. A year later, he is always surprised how quiet it is when he comes to my house and how calm my dogs are. He is impressed with how well they listen and that they don’t jump up. When I come to his house I am assaulted by his dog’s spastic jumping, nipping and scratching because she’s excited to see me. His dog barks frenetically when in the yard and something goes by. His dog is smaller than my 3 big dogs and yet my kids have been injured by his dog (scratches, nips, etc.) worse than by my own three dogs who are very gentle and respectful.

    Consequences are okay, people. It’s okay to have boundaries, its okay to teach that a certain behavior will create discomfort while other behaviors do not. I am so glad I didn’t re-home my difficult dog. She is such a joy to me and such a happy, fun dog now. My goal is to help my dogs learn how to act in society so I can take them anywhere. That’s real freedom. Discipline is such a “bad” word these days, but the truth is that being disciplined (in a healthy way) in anything, whether its fitness, career, or dog training yields greater possibilites. A well-trained dog does more than one who doesn’t know any limitations and therefore has to stay in his house all day.

    Thanks, Sean, Laura, and all who are brave enough to speak out against the tide of public opinion! It is your courage that saves the lives of countless “lost cases” that would otherwise be put down or re-homed.

    • ablewebs said:

      Wow, very eloquently put, Kathy. I am so glad you chose a balanced approach. My dog loves treats and they are good for training tricks for sure. But to stop her leash reactivity it took the e-collar and a higher level stim than I would have dared to use without Sean and Laura’s advice to people on their Q&A Saturday videos. All is now calm on our walks, so Lucy gets more of what she loves. Now she is always in a good head space when we walk, instead of scanning for trouble!

      • Kathy Colmer said:

        That is so great! I know all about the “scanning for trouble” you speak of! How cool that you gave it a go with such great results. I am a big fan of Q&A Saturday! Its helped me, too! Yay, Sean and Laura! 🙂

  10. Eden said:

    Interesting read!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  11. Birgitte said:

    Very well said! You´re doing a great job, and your teachings saved the relationship between myself and my dog after 9 months of positive training gone wild.

  12. Hannah said:

    This post is tactful and straightforward in handling a real issue in the dog world- this ideology that the dog is never wrong and doesn’t need healthy boundaries. “Let the dog be a dog.” I hear it all the time. A dog can be a polite, well-mannered member of society and still be a dog. In fact, I would rather enforce healthy boundaries and have a well-mannered dog than never enforce healthy boundaries and have a nuisance of a dog/a dangerous dog. I correct my dog (while being fair and assertive about it of course) all the time, but always get people who firmly believe in no force/positive reinforcement methods/have to get in my face about it. There’s a balance. You were spot on in how you explained it and I love your teaching style! Thanks for posting this!

  13. Kris A said:

    Last year I was one of those new owners struggling to make sense of all the contradictory advice out there, and the overwhelming weight of “scientifically proven” positive-only opinion on the internet made me think that was the way to go. Reading your posts, and those of people like you, helped give me confidence to make the call to a highly recommended ecollar trainer. My dog’s life, and my relationship with her, are so much better now. I share your fury at all those people providing misinformation in the name of animal welfare!

    • Thanks for sharing your story Kris! Super happy that you found the answers and help you and your dog needed. 🙂

  14. Love, love, love this!! I have studied animal behavior so am familiar with the pure positive method of training. However, while I am grateful to have some background knowledge on an animal’s physical and mental capacities, it in no way compares to actual hands on work, which has shown in my experience that pure positive does not work. The work you do is phenomenal and I use the same techniques with the dogs I work with (I am nowhere near where you guys are, but I hope to be some day!). Please don’t think that all of us with some animal behaviorist background are nuts 🙂

    • Thanks, thanks, thanks Liane!! Love your open mind and focus on real-life rather than academic life. This is a great comment to receive. So thanks for sharing and for your honesty! And no, I don’t think all behaviorist are nuts! Lol. But really appreciate you posting this. Take care. 🙂

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