Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's a Cult, and You've Been Brainwashed

The cartoon is trying to be funny, but the dog with the brochures actually has a point, and I have even seen Bob Bailey himself make the point, which is that some of the more extreme clicker training advocates are more about the Cult of Clicker than they are about actually addressing the real needs of dogs and dog owners. 

Dog training has been around a very long time, more than one technique works, and not all techniques work to solve all problems on all dogs all the time. 

But is that what you hear from the pure positive clicker crowd?  Not so much.  Instead they tend to do what so many cults do:

My advice is to be a practical dog trainer. 
Two books that look at the world of dog training through more than one lens (and are recommended by me) are:  Mr. and Mrs. Dog (my review here) and Cesar's Rules (Smart Dog's review here).  Neither of these books are a course in dog training.  Instead, they are windows into a simple idea:  that dog training is not about philosophy, but about what actually works to make dogs and their owners happy and whole. 
Sure, in theory, theory and practice should line up, but in practice they rarely do.  Dogs are not quite as simple as so many of us want them to be.

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