Personalized Dog Training -
How do I train my dog?
Below, on the right side of the page, is the Foreword written by Jean Donaldson in April 2001 to Pat Miller's book "The Power of Positive Dog Training"
This book is an excellent resource to use to learn how to train your dog in a way that will foster a good and trusting relationship with your dog.
"When many of us began dog training, almost every available book spoke of the human-dog relationship in ominous terms such as discipline, dominance, and punishment, or used euphimistic terms such as corrections, with dogs needing to be made responsible. If you looked up how to solve a behavior problem, the range of options consisted of different flavors of punishment. There were all kinds of frowny discussions about which implements to use (throw chains, keys, booby-traps, noxious chemical sprays, one's hands or fists), discussions about where on the dog's body to strike him (on the muzzle, the backside, under the chin so he doesn't see it coming, on the part of his body that committed the "crime"), and discussions about what sort of collar to put around the dog's neck in order to deliver pain efficiently and to startle.
If dogs could read, it must all have seemed like some sort of dark science fiction. They are, like all living organisms, just trying to get through their days accessing as much pleasant stuff as possible and avoiding as much unpleasant stuff as possible. In The Power of Positive Dog Training ... Pat Miller speaks eloquently of her epiphany, the beginning of her crossover to positive training methods. This is the most profound realization a trainer can have - that gaining control of the reinforcers, the pleasant stuff in the dog's environment, is as effective a means of behavioral control as administering pain and startle ...
... There are many dog trainers who, in their heart of hearts, view the dogs as victims, the owners as perpetrators (or hapless middlemen), and the trainer as the hero in the play. The truth is that dogs have not been the only victims.
Owners have been victims of the dearth of correct and accessible information about dogs - about the true propensities of breeds, about what kind of time and effort is involved, about the basics of management and training. Phone six trainers at random about six different kinds of training questions. The range of answers would leave any consumer confused and in despair. In fact, if the same quality of consumer information existed about, say, cars, people might well be told by different car "authorities" to never change the oil, change the oil every day, or replace the oil with lemon juice...
... Pet dog behavior counselors have been victims of the poor quality or low relevance of much of the trickled down information from the pet dog training "ancestor" endeavors: traditional, militaristic training; competitive obedience training and academics.
However, in spite of this spotty history, pet dog training and behavior counseling has blossomed. Pat Miller embodies all that is right in this thriving specialty. She is tireless in her championing of training techniques that, first and foremost, do no harm and, almost as importantly, are based on sound, well-understood learning principles, rather than the gut-level intuition and hocus-pocus that seduces so many in this field.
Dogs have intrinsic value in addition to their value to us, and this (book) dictates the use of the most benign techniques available to educate them ..."
Jean Donaldson, April 2001