Tuesday, 25 October 2011

What's the big deal?

Just been on a forum where people were offering advice on a dog's problem with toilet training.  I had to point out that unqualified people shouldn't be offering advice, especially as so much of it is contradictory at best and harmful at worst.

What really gets to me is "I watched this TV programme and this is what you need to do..." comments.   A lot of the TV trainers have no background or training in dog psychology.  Some are in it for the money and others for the glory of being on TV.  I have no doubt that there are also some who genuinely believe that what they are doing is helping the dog they are working with.

I strongly advise against using aversives.  It's so easy to get it wrong, ruin the relationship with the dog and a have the dog living under constant stress of being told off.  You will find that the dog doesn't learn anything so it becomes every time the dog does x the owner has to do y.  Eventually y has to become z and then you have nowhere else to go!  Could you learn with the treat of being punished hanging over you all the time? 

A behaviourist needs to know more than just "how do I stop my dog from doing... "   I have completed the lower level qualifications and am in the second year of my foundation degree.It's another 2 years until the end of the BSc.   The last module I completed was pharmacology, which I have just finished, having started it in May!   The module before that was on neurobiology.   It takes as long to train to become a fully qualified dog behaviourist as it does to become a vet.  If I want to go on to do a Masters and a PHd then that's almost until I retire :D 

It would be great if we could all be TV trainers and just read a book or have some mystic power that means we know what the dog's problem is and to rectify it in 15 mins.

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