Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Please stop hurting my friends

As the official greeter at Cold Nose Lodge, I meet a lot of dogs and their people. I have swapped training stories with some of my friends, and can't believe how many different training styles exist. My mommy trained me using lures and rewards. She still ignores me when I jump up, and doesn't feed me when I try to jump up to peek at the dinner table. (Lucky for me, I have a three-year-old girl who slips me food.) I sit for my dinner and for treats. I get a "good girl" when I potty in the yard.
Some of the training classes at the lodge use clickers. Those are fun, too. Click = treat! We dogs love to work for clicks.
I have heard of dogs who are fitted with choke chains and prong collars as the first step in training. I feel so lucky that I have never worn either of those. Yes, I probably would have learned how to sit if one was used on me, but I would also be much less trusting. I like to do what I'm asked because there may be something in it for me (praise, a belly rub, or maybe a tasty treat). I would hate to be put in the position to do something  because I would be hurt for not doing it. I don't do well with pain.
For those people who say the prong or choker don't hurt, you are wrong. My friends who have been forced to wear them say it hurts. The reason it works in training is because of the pain. Use gentle leaders, harnesses and other humane tools to teach us, and always let us know you love us and would never hurt us.

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