Aversion training

Training should be fun

As you all know I am a positive trainer; I am actually known as a cross over trainer.  That means that I use to use one method of training and now I have.......................................well crossed over.  :)  One thing first, I have never taught aversion type training.  When I started teaching training I was already well into my positive years.  My aversion training started very early on, at the age of 13, way back then that is all that there was.  Sadly I was trained under one of the harshest type trainers, she was brutal.  Even back then as a youngster it just didn't feel right to me.

I am surprised that conventional harsh training methods are still out there, it truly is mind boggling.  But it is and with the experience that I have with it and all the research I have done over the years I surely know why it should not be around.  I see it more now than I did several years ago; only because that it was made popular by Cesar Milan's television show.  I walked past a woman on the weekend with a small cute dog and she was tsssscccht ing it the whole time.  This is a dead giveaway to a Cesar follower.

Once you truly learn and understand how a dog learns and communicates only then will you know why aversion training is so bad.  When I see people yanking, yelling, shocking and growing discouraged I want to step in and show them a better way.  When you use aversion methods of training you build a negative association around the whole aspect of training.  Dogs are all about association.  Just today Elsa dove happily off the bed first thing in the morning when called by my husband to come.  Yesterday she would not budge thinking that she was just being ousted off the bed.  Yesterday she went for her first 5:00 am run and this morning she had already associated the early morning run with the call to get off the bed.  Being removed from the bed very quickly became a positive instead of a negative.

 Some dogs learn faster than others, with positive training you need to have patience.  You also need to be creative because the same approach to a new behavior will not work on all dogs.  With positive training you try the normal routine and watch; if it works great, if not you try something else.  Building piece by piece until the dog fully understands.

Aversion training builds frustration and anger, I see it happening all the time.  People trying to stop their dogs behavior by yanking, yelling and even alpha rolling them(pinning a dog on it's back and staring them down, horrible.)  The more the dog fights against it the more anger that builds in the owner. No, aversion training is not fun for anyone.  It can also be detrimental in that it creates fallout behaviors.  Behaviors that are caused by stress, anxiety, fear and a negative association.

If every time you walked out of your front door you were given a shock or a yank on your neck, would going out that door not become a stressful event?  Most definitely it would be and you would stop.  So this is how aversion training works, if you do what what the trainer doesn't want you to do you are punished by negative means.   With this comes the fallout, dogs can form all sorts of fallout behaviors from aversion training.  Anything from anxiety to aggression and everything in between.  So not only does aversion training cause negative associations, it also creates new fallout behaviors that need to be dealt with. If they in turn are dealt with by aversive methods then you have the never ending vicious circle scenario.

Aversion training needs to be done with, left back in the history books with many other things that we use to do wrong.  Thankfully Cesar's show has been cancelled but I'm sure he'll still be around somewhere yanking away. We are evolving, or at least we should be; not going backwards.  Using aversion methods of training is doing just that, going back to the days before we knew better.  There is a better way, it may be a change but it is worth taking the time to learn and understand.  Your dogs, my dogs, all dogs deserve it.

Remember; training should be fun, if it's not then you are doing something wrong.
Let me add this because of a comment given; although I am a positive trainer I also use stop tactics.  Mostly my voice and I also use consequences, meaning that if you break the law you will be removed.  Don't come when called? I'm coming to get you.  There is no pain or anger used, just seriousness when required.  I do not believe that it can all be done while smiling and skipping across a field of daisies.