If you think I’ve spent a lot of time recently developing this series of Posts on the Communicative Approach to your dog, you’re right. If you think I’ve been sweating the details, you’re also right. There’s a reason that I’ve been doing the work though. My motivation is simple.
I’m sick and tired of the endless war between people that train dogs.
Someone prints an article on “Dominance”, and immediately somebody in the “Positive Training” camp prints a rebuttal. Both sides take liberty with the actual definitions and practices used by either. It’s futility and nonsense, and will never result in anything that improves the lives of our dogs, or each other. Someone criticizes or praises a particular individual or specific methodology, and a flame-war starts between camps. Well, from now on, I take the high road, because I have more important things to focus on besides pushing a viewpoint.
It’s time that we forged ahead to something that unites, or at least mitigates the differing approaches. Let’s work together on a way to allow our dogs to communicate with us, using their “language”. A way that helps us all to stop the pointless bickering. First lets ask what we have in common:
It seems to me that the first thing is this: Dogs (Canis familiaris) are NOT Wolves (Canis Lupus). They behave differently, think differently, interact differently. Wolves are Wild Animals, generally avoiding contact with human beings. Dog are domesticated creatures, generally seeking out the comfort of human contact and interaction.
Dogs are NOT little humans in furry-suits. I will dignify my dog, for being a dog.
Every responsible dog-owner owes their dog training, attention, and effort.
Every responsible dog-owner should help their dog be a good citizen, in both the human world, and the dog world.
Not every dog-trainer will agree with my preferred method of training. I should respect thier decision, and focus on being a positive influence for my viewpoint without being combative or belittling.
Working, training and living with my dog should be fun. The world is already completely awash in competitiveness, jealousy, and narcissism. I will do my part in making others enjoy their dog.
The Communicative Approach is not a Training Method, it is an Attitudedirected to the dog, supportive of the dog, and beneficial to the dog, that can be used in any training method. It is seeing the world from the dogs point of view, understanding what the dog is telling you from moment to moment. It will require each of us to adjust our approach, maybe radically.
I am not attempting to rewrite any training manual, scientific study, or new-agey philosophy. I’ve just noticed that when I work With my dog, cognizant of his feelings and preferences, he’s happier. He’s also more willing to respond, often without the clumsy prodding of commands and markers from a human language. That will be my pursuit as I explore this Communicative approach. It is my hope that you will share your observations of your dog’s behavior with all who read this blog. Together, we can accomplish much for the good of all dogs…