Modern Dog Training Is Not About Cookies!


Bev Maahs KPACTP

With my background in technology, I love the internet, a whole new world opens up, and opinions are easily shared. This of course works two ways, there is a lot of good information, and a lot of misinformation. Just like when I was young, we were encouraged to read newspapers, and be critical, because everything that was published was not necessarily true!

Opinions are expressed every day on social media, some people agree, some do not!
That is what I call democracy, if you are fortunate to live in a country where that is allowed! And in the US and Canada, it is allowed to express your opinion freely, as long as it is not slander.

Breeders and dog owners, have a passion and love for their dogs, and the methods they use to train them, beware of the trainers, or owners who say…”I do this, as it has always been done this way!” It does not make it the best way!

Which brings me to the real point of this, I have been following on social media, and recently had an e-mail about training GSD’s, which I have one. (And have owned 2 in the past, and one was trained for IPO) I am also a dog trainer, who chosen, and trained to be a dog trainer, with well-known, and well-respected Karen Pryor Academy of Dog Training and Behavior. I chose this school, based on my values, and ethics. I do not believe in punishing my dog because I lack the skill to train it. I did in the past use traditional methods to train my dogs, because I did not know better! I did not jerk my dogs, because it did not feel right to me. And, it had huge consequences on the GSD I got that would shut down, for just a slight pull on her collar. Hence this article on the Cross Over Trainer Blog.

People have dogs, that train in many methods, which is what modern dog trainers label traditional or old school. These methods are usually trained with jerk on the choke, chain, prong collars, and electronic shock collars. There is huge fallout to these methods.
A statement from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

What I have been reading, is that everyone has an opinion based on half-truths and not understanding what modern dog training is. Most people think it is about pushing cookies and never ever saying no. Which is not correct, but I think there are many resources on what modern dog training is about. I am not going to go into the art and the science of dog training here, but I am going to point you to some resources. I hope will help you understand what modern dog training is about after reading some of these resources. And, it is not about pushing cookies!

We all love our dogs. We want to train them the best we can. Arguing about methods is not going to benefit you or your dogs. Do research, find reliable sources, not something that an unqualified “trainer” has posted on the internet. Remember, it is opinions and an unregulated occupation.

Here are some credible resources for research:

Association of Pet Dog Trainer on Myths of Positive Training.

How to Find Trainers with Credentials

Go and watch the classes, if the dog trainer refuses to let you observe the class before, that is a red flag. If equipment suggested to train your dog includes choke chains, prongs or other bullying methods, walk away.

How to find Trainers:

You can compete in the obedience world without compulsion. Here are some people who train and title without the use of force and use modern dog training methods!

Denise Fenzi competes in IPO, Mondio Ring, Obedience, has a Dog Sports Academy, and wrote a book published last year with Deb Jones. I have read this book and recommend it.

Denise Fenzi breeds and trains Belgian Tervurians

Hannah Brannigan KPACTP also presents at ClickerExpo and teaches at Fenzi Academy. She has Belgian Tervurans and competes at high levels.

Shade Whitesel trains German Shepherds and has won many titles in IPO.

Recently, a lot of Search and Rescue and Police Dogs are training with modern methods, because the old traditional way does not lend to reliability of their dogs.

Steve White

This is just a small selection of dog trainers who do not train with compulsion. Are they cookie pushers? No. Do they reward their dogs for good work? Yes!

I hope this article will make you question modern dog training vs traditional and the people who use it. Make sure you have a reliable source, as someone who claims to be a dog trainer online, might not be one in reality.