Open Disclosure

Open Disclosure

A week ago I posted this on my Facebook page.

And then it occurred to me: what if you're not on Facebook? (Go you!)

What if you're scanning my website and wondering who I am and how I work? 

So, here we are!

Recently I had the misfortune of seeing a FB post that can only be described as toxic (note to the FB algorithm: not all dog training posts are the same, I like ones that involve liberal amounts of cookies). I have reported it as bullying and harassment. And also as misinformation. The misinformation bit is key. The premise was that positive reinforcement trainers are cult-like; we reel you in and then boom! there's all this choice, consent, feeling, cookie nonsense ...

So, in the interest of open disclosure, in no particular order:

- I use food in training, and I'll ask that you do too.

- I also use other reinforcers, as decided by the dog, and as appropriate to the situation. These may be toys, environmental freedoms. It depends.

- I use "it depends" a lot. Because it does.

- I'll help you find ways to identify and meet your dog's needs.

- I let dogs sniff. A lot. I'll ask that you do too.

- I let dogs amble and choose their own path on walks. I'll ask that you do too.

- I give my dogs choice and agency. I'll ask that you do too. We can talk about the how and the where and the when.

- I do not - deliberately, and this bit is important - use punishment in training. I emphasise 'deliberately', because sometimes shit happens and what I think should be reinforcing turns out not to be.

There are probably more things that I can add to this list, but here's your Saturday morning starter. If you have questions about how I train, or if you want to make sure we're a good fit, then by all means email me before booking. I encourage it.

There's two really big important questions to ask of your potential professional:

1) what happens when my dog gets it right?

2) what happens when my dog gets it wrong?

Listen to those answers carefully.

Ask more questions if you're not sure. Run a mile if you don't like the answer(s).

Pictured is Wolly, walking ahead of me in a back clip harness, choosing his own path and stopping to sniff whenever the f*^# he wants.

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