You have to be Cruel to be Kind
At a recent training seminar, this phrase was used by a participant, “you have to be cruel to be kind.” Ouch!
It is one of the most old-fashioned ways of going about dog training, although it has waned in popularity in recent years – and for a good reason! This kind of attitude toward dog training is no longer considered effective by anyone with a head for science.
I suppose “you have to be cruel to be kind,” means that your pet has to first go through a phase of “no pain, no gain” before you’re allowed to express your admiration for them. It is seldom appropriate and has many flaws in its ideology. That is not to say that you should be a tad austere from time to time in order to get a point across. However, it should be noted that any harshness in your dog obedience training approach will eventually lead to a very hostile dog or a dog with numerous “issues” throughout life.
The Old-School Approach
Let’s examine some of the faults of the old-school approach to dog obedience training. It usually involves punishing the dog anytime they exhibit incorrect behavior. However, it is important to realize that scolding or punishing a dog is only going to deter them from responding to your commands in the future. They’ll either completely dismiss what you say or become ridden with fear. It’s a terrible solution for your dog, a frightened dog is a miserable dog.
In contrast, positive reinforcement ensures a consistently smooth command over your dog, leading to a joyful owner and a very joyful dog!
Now there is only one time when you should reprimand your pet physically, and that is no more than holding it by the collar should it go to attack a person, yourself, or another dog. However, this doesn’t involve striking your dog or abusing it in anyway.
Remember, great relationships are always built on camaraderie and trust.