Saturday, March 10, 2012

We are family ...

When you aren't shocking your dog, or using positive training on the agility field what are you doing with your dog? There should be an awful lot of other times you interact with your pooch!

I was skimming Clean Run before bed last night and I came across a line that spoke about  Millionaire Dogs -  in the context of this article being a Millionaire dog is a BAD BAD thing.  "A millionaire dog is one that always has plenty to eat, has access to toys other than in the agility training ring, and has permanent access to to his handler at home." The implication was why would a dog work if they had these things? (My immediate thought - maybe they had earned them?)

Sorry to disagree but I do .. the implication of this statement saddens me as much as thinking about shock collars. My dogs don't have permanent access to me - because I work outside the home but as I head into March Break you won't find me crating my dogs simply because they have had too much time with me; come September after many days, and nights, together we are all sad when the real word hits. Nor will you find me not feeding the dogs so they'll be hungry and therefore motivated to work with me. (Timing of meals is something I do consider - I don't feed a big meal then run out to work - anthropomorphically I wouldn't like that - so I don't).   Toys aren't all over my house simply because Sam picks things to guard and Sally's mission in life is to destroy toys. I've had toy baskets out when the dogs were those kind of dogs and it worked fine.

On this note I don't use punitive, correction based methods when I'm not playing agility. We didn't put a shock collar on Sampson after he vanished after a deer the first (and only) time he vanished after a deer.  I don't shock Sally when she insists on checking out the counter after I've done food prep. I don't stand in my yard screaming at my dogs when the neighbour's dog is snarling and snarking on the other side of the fence. I call my dogs, they all look at me and run to me. Sure sometimes they get a treat for a prompt and fabulous return to me but the real reason they come? They enjoy being with us and we enjoy being with them. We are a family. And families that work don't scream, shock, hit or lock one another away without reason. If your dog isn't family but a means to an end, or a statement of your own importance I guess your perspective is a little different.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Good points. I hope my dogs don't see agility, or any training, as "Work". I want them to see it as yet another game we play together.

I find many people take dog training way too seriously.