Batteries Not Included

We live in the age of technology. A world of entertainment and convenience at our fingertips, on demand movies and entertainment, 24 hour shopping online, pills to help us sleep when we need it, fresh produce of any kind regardless of the season, cars and jets to take us where we want to go in mere hours. You get the picture, we’re pretty used to getting what we want when we want it, on our schedules.

However, some things in life do not come with a power switch or auto-programming options, and a dog is one of them.

Lots of people want their dogs to “behave” or to be “fixed” by training, but are not willing to put in the work to teach said dog exactly what that means. Dogs don’t inherently know what we humans expect of them, they’ve got their own doggie-rules of conduct built in that include things like barking at squirrels, and sniffing butts. If we want dogs to learn human rules, we’ve got to take the time to teach and reinforce them, period.

Learning takes investment - time and repetition. There are no quick fixes when dealing with living beings. There are no short cuts or secrets either. I was going to say that dogs don’t come with remote controls, but in our age of technology you actually can get a remote control trainer for a dog, but thing is (and what most people who go that route don’t realize) that even that remote trainer, which does unpleasant things to your best friend, is not a miracle worker! It’s just another tool that must be used properly to be effective. Just because it has batteries doesn’t mean it’s a quick fix, or the best way to go.

I think a lot of people choose to use shock collars on dogs because they think it’s going to be an easy way to train.

Recently a trainer friend of mine had a client ask if a shock collar could “fix” a dog that brings mud and sticks through the door. Huh? Over the years I’ve learned that “fix” to many dog owners just means the absence of behavior. People who think in these terms don’t really want their dog to “do” anything. They’d prefer to be able to turn their dog on and off like they do most of their other toys. Trained by the age of technology and convenience, people seem to have lost the desire/ability to follow through and do what it takes to get things done right.

Animals have needs and requirements that must be met; you can’t just stop behavior, shut a dog down. Stopping an unwanted is just one piece of the training puzzle; you’ve got to replace it with an exceptable alternative that simultaneously meets the dog’s needs. Otherwise you’ll get a behavioral pressure cooker that will eventually burst.  

The truth is that dogs are living beings, on 24/7 and if you’re not willing or able to take on that kind of commitment perhaps you should get a Pleo instead, you can put him in the closet when you can’t be bothered and yet he’ll interact with you when you feel like being entertained. None of the responsibility and all of the fun, just like your gaming system.