In dog training you’ve probably never heard a trainer use this old movie line on a dog, “We can do this the easy way or the hard way…”  But, as you know, unfortunately there are still trainers out there that train the hard way. It’s called compulsion training and, when used by the wrong trainer, can sometimes have devastating emotional results on a dog.  The dog can become fearful, shy, anxious.

In compulsion training you don’t use food treats. Instead, you physically shape a sit or down to teach the dog a command. Once a dog learns a command, the trainer would give the dog a physical correction with a training collar if the dog did not comply or did not comply fast enough.

Dog Training:  The Easy Way or The Hard Way

This is a form of avoidance training.  What’s this mean?  It means the dog eventually learns to avoid the unpleasant correction by complying with the command. And unfortunately there are some trainers who will actually whack a dog when it’s out of line.  The dog is not learning because its fun, he’s learning that to not have something be uncomfortable or hurt him, he does the command.  Pretty lousy huh?

I had a young lady actually ask me about this on Facebook about this very thing. While impressed with the results, it was very clear that she was very uneasy with the way her dog was being treated. In most all of us, harsh corrections just don’t feel like a natural or good thing to do.  Personally, I would much rather create a good relationship with my dog – one of mutual trust and respect.

However, many folks still employ a trainer to work on obedience training or dog behavior problems only to find out after it’s too late that the trainer is using harsh methods.  Even though these methods get the dog to do the commands, these same dog owners are upset for their dog.

So why do some folks still allow this.  I think in the case of this young woman, she probably felt somewhat intimidated AND was not sure what her alternatives were.  I did refer her to a couple of articles on our site to help her understand a better way to train.

If you do not like a training style or technique being used on your dog, stop the training immediately. If it doesn’t feel right for the trainer to be so rough, go with your gut. Stop the training and leave with your dog or tell the trainer to leave your home.  It’s your dog and your right.  You must stand up for your dog.

Here is something else to think about. You would have to use the same training technique on your dog that the dog trainer demonstrates to you. If you already don’t like it, you won’t use it.  Even if you did you’d probably feel lousy about doing it.

Believe me, your dog, who has put its trust in you to do the right thing, will appreciate it more than you know. 

Adolescent displays of bossy or dominant dog behavior can be extinguished without the use of an extreme or harsh aversive.

Consider going with an easy, fun positive training approach  You will quickly see why these techniques are preferred. You will also see why the former method of training and discipline used on your dog no longer make sense.

You simply do not want a dog behaving based on fear. Instead, create a nurturing environment in which both you and your dog will thrive.

Whether you are a first-time puppy owner or you have had many dogs, it pays to do your homework. Get references from past clients as well as references from veterinarians when choosing a trainer.

You can have a great life with a well-behaved dog and my bets are it can be achieved easier than you think – with the right trainer.

Please comment below and tell us how you feel about using correction collars and compulsion training on a dog. 

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Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best: There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.  Jane Wagner 
 (c)Jim Burwell Inc.