False Dichotomy to justify force training

Force free training is catching on. More and more folks are looking for ways to train their dogs without using pain, fear, startle, force , or intimidation. A lot of trainers are crossing over as well.  But there are some force trainers who believe their way is better.  As the public becomes more educated, it can be harder and harder to convince people that force training is a desirable method of dog training.

One of tactics that force trainers use is “False Dichotomy”  – creating an either/or situation. Such as if we don’t correct this dog using force, he/she is going to die.  Used often in rescue or shelter situations.  Most of the time this is a whole spectrum of choices between hurt a dog or kill a dog.

Here are the problems with this with creating this extreme of the spectrum (correct or die)

  1. There are a lot of dogs who need to be rescued. Some of them have big issues; some of them have small issues; some of them are friendly and well socialized; some of them are already well trained.  Some have even been working dogs – police dogs, therapy dogs, service dogs etc..

Rescue agencies should make a decision – if they want to save as many dogs as possible by pulling them from shelters and adopting them as soon as possible, it would make more sense to pull the friendly, well socialized dogs who have no or few issues. Get them checked out medically then adopt them out as soon as possible.

If their goal is to help special needs dogs, then they should be prepared to save fewer dogs. Pull the ones who have issues, then take the time needed to resolve or mitigate those issues. They will also need to take the time needed to find good foster homes and/or experienced, well screened adopters.

  1. Suppressing an undesirable behavior (such as growling or barking) does not get to the root of the issue (resource guarding, fear, abuse, etc..). And using pain, fear, startle or intimidation (such as leash pops) only suppresses communication.  So we still have a dog who is afraid but who can’t express that fear.  In essence this practice creates a dog who is more dangerous.  Potential adopters will see a quiet dog and assume he is  “well balanced”. But what they have is a dog who might bite without warning. Basically we are tricking families into adopting a dog who has special needs that have not been addressed.
  1. If rescues and trainers feel that the only option is correction or euthanasia, they should re evaluate what issues would justify euthanasia. A dog who growls but doesn’t bite? A dog who bites but barely breaks skin? A dog who has sent people to the hospital?
  1. In general, force training can create mental or physical fallout.

Links/References

Growling is Good: http://www.stubbypuddin.com/2014/02/growling-is-good.html

Euthanizing a Biting Dog: http://www.stubbypuddin.com/2014/02/my-dog-bit-someone-do-i-have-to.html

Dangers of Choke Chains: http://www.stubbypuddin.com/2014/04/dangers-of-choke-chains.html

The Problem With Startle Methods: http://blog.mysanantonio.com/latrenda/tag/startle-methods/

The Problem with Spritzing: https://www.facebook.com/groups/20444826822/permalink/10152571734496823/

See this site for some information how to work on common behavior issues  (force free)- Jumping Up, Loose Leash Walking, etc.. http://www.stubbypuddin.com/

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