16 Sep

Are you considering enrolling your dog in a training program but concerned about the use of punishment-based techniques? Unfortunately, there are many trainers out there who still rely on harsh, aversive methods to try to control a dog’s behavior. This can not only be ineffective but also harmful to the dog’s well-being.

When it comes to finding a dog trainer, there are many options out there, and it can be tempting to go with the cheapest or most convenient option. However, it’s important to remember that with no licensing organizing for dog trainers, anyone can hang a shingle and call themselves a dog trainer, even if they don’t have the qualifications or experience necessary to provide effective training.

At Muttschool, we pride ourselves on staying up-to-date with the latest training methods, techniques, and research to ensure that our trainers are always offering the most effective and humane training possible. We have a strong emphasis on continuing education and many of our trainers have undergone extensive education and certification through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT).

Muttschool takes a different approach to dog training, prioritizing the well-being of the dog and adhering to the principles of LIMA (Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive). We believe in using humane techniques that minimize the use of punishment and prioritize understanding the individual needs and preferences of each dog. We work closely with our clients and their dogs to create an enjoyable training experience that fosters a strong bond between the dog and their owner.

By choosing Muttschool, you’re choosing to work with professionals who are committed to providing high-quality training that gets results. If you’re looking for a dog training program that emphasizes safety, effectiveness, and compassion, look no further than Muttschool.   

We firmly believe that dogs learn best when they feel safe, happy and loved, which is why we never use tools that impart pain on your furry friend. If you’re new to the world of dog training, you may not be aware that there are different styles of training available, some of which rely on punishment-based techniques. 

There are side effects to the use of positive punishment and downsides to a dog training approach that relies on them.

It’s important to note that punishment-based techniques are not recommended as they can be detrimental to a dog’s well-being and can produce several negative consequences for the dog, including:
  • Fear and anxiety: Dogs may become fearful or anxious if they are frequently punished or if the punishment is too severe, leading to behavioral problems and reduced quality of life.
  • Aggression: Dogs that are frequently punished may become aggressive as a result of their fear or frustration.
  • Physical harm: Some punishment-based techniques, such as hitting or physically harming the dog, can cause physical harm and injury.
  • Decreased trust: If a dog is frequently punished, they may become less trusting of their owner and other humans, which can negatively impact their relationships and overall behavior.
  • Learned helplessness: Dogs that are repeatedly punished may eventually give up trying to avoid the punishment, leading to a state of learned helplessness where they feel powerless to control their environment.
  • Decreased learning: Punishment-based techniques can actually decrease a dog’s ability to learn and retain information, as they may become too focused on avoiding punishment rather than learning the desired behavior.

We want to be quite upfront with the fact that there are trainers out there that will intentionally  hurt your dog and call it training. Unfortunately, trainers who use punishment-based techniques that can be harmful and abusive to dogs. These trainers may use physical force, choke chains, shock collars, or other aversive methods to try to control the dog’s behavior. This can lead to physical and emotional harm for the dog,  It’s important for dog owners to be aware of these risks and to choose a trainer who uses proven humane, scientifically-validated training methods. By doing so, owners can help ensure their dog’s safety, well-being, and long-term success in training.

Here are some warning signs to be aware of when encountering other dog trainers:
  • Your dog is an ALPHA: If a trainer talks about how a dog is an alpha, ask them if they still listen to Disco music because, last I knew, “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees was outta sight! And so is the alpha theory! This outdated and disproven, theory in dog training, once suggested that dogs are pack animals that must be dominated by a “alpha” human in order to be obedient, was popularized in the 1970s and 1980s. However, it has since been disproven by animal behaviorists and trainers who advocate for positive reinforcement training methods based on modern understanding of canine behavior and cognition. The theory was largely discredited in the 1990s and 2000s, as more research showed that dogs are social animals that do not operate on a strict hierarchy with humans as their “alpha.”
  • Alpha rolling: This involves physically rolling the dog onto its back and holding it there as a form of dominance training.
  • Shock collars: Shock collars are designed to deliver an electric shock to the dog’s neck when they exhibit an unwanted behavior. This punishment can be very unpleasant and traumatic for the dog causing physical pain and emotional distress which can potentially damage the relationship between the dog and their owner.  
  • Choke chains: These collars tighten around the dog’s neck when they pull on the leash, causing discomfort and pain.
  • Pinch collars: Also known as prong collars, these collars have metal prongs that dig into the dog’s neck when pressure is applied, causing discomfort and pain.
  • Spray bottles: Some trainers use spray bottles filled with water or other unpleasant substances to discourage undesirable behavior.
  • Physical punishment: This can involve hitting, slapping, spanking or otherwise physically harming the dog in response to unwanted behavior.
  • Verbal reprimands: Some trainers use yelling, shouting, or other forms of loud and aggressive verbal cues to reprimand the dog for unwanted behavior.
  • Yank and crank: This is a method of physically jerking on the leash to correct unwanted behavior or to get the dog’s attention.
  • Startle techniques: Certain trainers resort to using sudden loud noises or other startling stimuli to discourage dogs from engaging in unwanted behavior. This may include throwing penny jars or chains at the dogs to grab their attention or show disapproval of their actions.
  • Repetitive drilling of commands: While repetition can be an important aspect of dog training, solely relying on drilling  the behaviors repetitively can have negative consequences. This method can cause physical injuries especially when it involves excessive pushing or forceful handling. Repetitive drilling should not be confused with actual training, as it doesn’t encourage the dog to think through the behavior, but rather it simply forces them into a position over and over.
We’re here to assure you that our program is different.

At MuttSchool, we prioritize your dog’s physical and emotional safety. At Muttschool, our trainers believe that punishment is not an effective way to build a positive relationship between a dog and their owner.  By following LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive) protocols, we aim to ensure the humane and thoughtful treatment of animals in training and behavior modification. Both our clients and dogs benefit from working with trainers who believe in humane and effective methods, rather than punishment.When training a dog, it’s important to use a variety of training techniques that promote learning, engagement and understanding between the dog and owner. We help dogs learn and master their essential eight skills through the use of a variety of games and exercises that make training an effective, enjoyable and rewarding experience for both you and your pup. Our approach is centered around creating a mutual understanding between the dog and their human, which fosters trust, respect, and cooperation. We will teach you how to reward desirable behavior and redirect undesirable behavior which in turn helps dogs and their people build a strong, lifelong bond based on love, trust and respect.  

You can rest assured that you and your furry friend will receive the best possible training and support to create a happy and healthy life together. So why settle for anything less? Choose Muttschool for the highest quality dog training that’s backed by education, certification, and a commitment to ongoing learning.