Mainstream Dog Training has aligned itself with the interpretive script that response represents a like minded state. To understand the issues associated with this appearance based narrative is to understand dogs as the social animals they really are and the depth of connection they share with us via nature and the pack relationship. To use an example of the deception that can happen via this approach one only needs to look no further than a parent and child relationship. The picture of a parent needing professional help dealing with a very selfish child with a professional stepping into the home environment to get the relationship on proper course. In this scenario the professional employs a motivator to get the child to do certain things so that a picture is painted for the parent that good things are happening in the relationship. The only problem is that the child isn't actually changing based on the fact that the professional is working off selfish motives rather than fixing the core problem between parent and child. Within the dog training world this same flawed tenant is built into this mainstream narrative and the majority of trainers are not even considering the issue. Dogs often hold onto control even as they go through the motions of training. The default position for the majority of trainers when this relational disconnect happens is to blame the dog. Simply removing treats from the equation does not always remedy this issue based on the fact that control itself can become a motivator for a dog to response once the motives of the dog have already gone sideways.
The solution is to remove the learning narrative instead and approach training for what it represents....a relational changing process.
By Dale McCluskey