Due to a number of things, I’m not in the best of moods this week, so I thought I’d stick with it and write about a few things I don’t like.
I’m loathe to say “hate”, because it’s such a strong word, reserved for very, very, amazingly dislike-able things that are terrible & horrible and such; and much as I dislike these, I don’t know that I truly hate any of them…
“Training collars” of any sort. There’s just no need, not to mention that any problem that makes someone consider one of these devices is usually exacerbated by the choice to use any one of them.
Dogs off lead by roads. Aside from this being illegal in the UK it’s also stupid and dangerous – anyone could run off with your dog, or he could get startled by something and run into the road.
Flexi-leads. Aside from a few small number of times that use of a flexi might be a good idea (i.e. in lieu of a long line), most of the time it’s not. Especially when the dog is given free reign over how much lead she has on a road-walk. It’s sort of like having your dog off-lead (like above), but with the added “excitement” that if she runs into the road – you’re going along for the ride. Extreme dog walking!
You’re going, whether you want to or not…
“No-pull” harnesses that constrict. It’s like a choke chain for the rib cage, not to mention the main “no-pull” section is usually just a thick string/thin rope, which chafes when it runs past armpits, and scrunches and catches skin on the dog’s ribs and back.
Dogs off lead with no recall/verbal control on the part of the owner. Another theft risk, not to mention your dog is at risk of running up to on-lead dogs who would rather not have a small yappy dog in their face (or, well, under their paws) or any size over exuberant/reactive dog in their face. Seriously, if your dog won’t recall from certain distractions and/or in certain situations, be a responsible owner and keep him on lead when faced with those distractions or situations. (Thank you to those of you who are responsible by the way).
People who think all dogs love them. Just no.
People who think they’re entitled to do what they want to strange dogs. One day, you will get bitten, and – even though you won’t admit it – it will be your fault. You will, potentially, kill a completely innocent dog, and you will not learn a single thing from that situation; either that not all dogs love you, or that you can’t and shouldn’t do whatever you want to any dog you see.
People who berate/tell off/shout at their dogs. Seriously, not only does this affect your dog, but it affects mine too; it’s also neither big nor clever – you look like a jerk. Just stop it.
Shouting. There’s just no need.
People who want to “show off” their dog’s “training” to you, making you want the ground to open up and swallow you whole. This is so embarrassing on so many levels. Especially when someone’s proud of say…their dog’s “leave it”, but the dog is only leaving the thing because: a) it’s a boring piece of biscuit; b) it’s not moving; c) you’ve told them to leave it one thousand times in the same way some high-ranking army person might bark orders at the new recruits. Not cool.
Slip leads. While slip leads do have their uses, I don’t believe one of those uses is on your dog’s daily walk. Slip leads are for moving dogs around in the vet clinic, for catching strays, and for emergencies. Not for everyday life.
People who use the excuse that “not all dogs learn the same” to train with pain, fear, force, and/or intimidation. They are right, not all dogs learn through the same methods. If I try too much shaping with Inka I can hands-down happily make a £100 bet that he will at some point fixate on some small thing I’ve clicked and work around that, not moving on from it and getting more and more wound up that I’m not clicking his “right behaviour”. Starr, on the other hand, is a shaping wonder! I don’t get to shape with her as often as I’d like (that’s a whole other post!), but the last time we shaped together, we were playing with a shoulder-height box. It didn’t take her long to be reaching her head into it, putting her front paws on it and circle it (with help, but not all that much), and also jump on top of it. What does this tell me? Starr enjoys thinking for herself and enjoys figuring things out; shaping is fun for her. Inka has been berated for thinking on his own (not by me, I hasten to add), and that stresses him out; we can shape, but it’s easier for him if I lure, and then fade it to ensure I’m not bribing him. Not once did I ever think about using forceful methods to train Inka – why would I?
What about you, what do you dislike when it comes to dogs?