As an expert in behavioral dog training, I am frequently asked to compare training methods. On my website Canine Inc., I discuss the importance of selecting the best training method for your dog and show why the Stolzer Method was developed to pick the best of different training methods. When talking to trainers, there are basically two methods used today. This article discusses each method and shows its strengths and weaknesses. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or require additional information.
In todays training world there are two classical styles of dog training. "All Positive Training" believes that the only humane way to train an animal is through affection and reward. The other style of training has many names, but is classically referred to as "cohesion", which believes the most effective way to train an animal is to present an unpleasant or painful stimulus if the desired behavior isn’t performed. The problem with both of the styles is that neither of them actually cater to how dogs are designed as species. Today we're going to focus on "All Positive Training".
Many will argue that there are bounds of scientific evidence to show that anything outside of treats and hugs causes aggression in dogs long-term, not to mention is inhumane. Unfortunately, published studies in support of this methodology are limited to dogs with balanced temperaments and little to no behavior or training issues. This means the studies do not accurately reflect the canine population as a whole; only a small segment.
The best way to articulate the absence of the "All Positive Training" method's effectiveness is to ask a person if they have ever had a friend whom doesn’t believe in accountability for their child. I’m not referring to physical punishment, just behavioral accountability that is fair and consistent. We know how a lack of accountability effects humans in a negative way.
Dogs are survivalists. They clearly do what works for them. If jumping on you to get attention works, they will do it. An all positive trainer will withhold affection and or food then provide a treat when the dog stops jumping. Well, what if the dog isn’t motivated by food or affection? What if the dog has severe fixation issues or if the motivation to jump on you is greater than the motivation to take a treat or have their head rubbed? We think this is where the methodology breaks down.
Jon Stolzer is the owner and founder of Canine Inc, based just south of Nashville, TN. He is an expert Canine Behaviorist and Training Specialist as well as a Police K-9 Instructor/K-9 Unit Reserve Deputy. In 2010, he became a proud member of The Pedigree Foundation Advisory Counsel. In addition, he is an educator for Mars Petcare, the largest pet care company in the country and the second largest in the world. He works on authoring their corporate pet policy and providing seminar education for their company. Jon can be reached at email@example.com