I’ve been having a thought lately, brought about in large part by the behavioral work I’ve been observing at the Canine Center in Austin, and it goes a little like this:
If I bully Fido, Fido will bully others.
Popular religious thought seems to agree with this concept (“Do unto others . . .”), as do popular parenting theory and our criminal law framework. So why are so many of us still bullying our dogs?
A friend recently shared with me an article about a 2009 study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science concerning the outcomes associated with confrontational and non-confrontational behavior modification techniques in dog training. The study surveyed 140 dog owners seeking the help of a veterinary behaviorist, asking what methods they had attempted to improve the problem behavior in the past and what the result of these methods had been. In summary, the study…
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