• Caroline Yon

    May 4, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Brilliant posts by all. I’ve come across extremes in dog ownership/training. From those who believe that as humans we are dominant and all other creatures should fear us (Have you heard the phrase, “the more you kick a dog, the more loyal it becomes?” – can’t tell you how angry that makes me), to those who have “fur babies” who are anthropomorphised into clothes wearing dolls and denied the ability to indulge in natural behaviours. It’s funny but when I had my daughter 14 years ago and my friends were laughing that I wouldn’t waste money on bottles etc but would probably just give her a dog bowl, they weren’t far wrong. By that I mean that as a new, and very scared parent with no clear idea on what to do, I applied the same rules to raising baby as I did with my dogs. Be clear, be consistent, provide a feeling of security, of being loved and respected, have boundaries and stick to them, ensure there are consequences should the boundaries be crossed and ensure that both me and my husband are singing from the same hymn sheet. I love my daughter very much and the best way I can demonstrate that is to be her Mother first and not her best friend. I have a duty to ensure she has all she needs which is not necessarily the same as all she wants, so she not only survives but has the best possible life. That includes not being a problem for other people. I think it’s worked as she’s a happy, respectful, fun teenager with a positive outlook. Same approach with the dogs. On the subject of “punishment” we have used e-collars in the past with excellent results. Anyone meeting my dogs will see there is no fear or hesitancy if we put the collars on them. I think in 10 years I’ve only ever used them above the minimum setting once.
    For me the key is balance and proportionality. I tend to use the word consequences rather that punishment as people seem to find it less emotive but it amounts to the same thing. As a Police Officer I see the effect of “no consequences” all of the time. Why should people stick to the rules if they can “get away” with not doing so? Why would we think our dogs are any different?