Tag Archives: control

How Do You And Society View Controlling Others and Controlling Dogs?

I am beginning to think I have opened a subject too big to cover in a dog training blog. This series would be best on a Philosophy and culture website or my personal site. While the article is about training it goes beyond training. The subject involves control in general and to what degree are we willing to force our desires onto another. What form does our preferred style of force take?

It appears that at least some to these posts will not be focused on dog training, but general ideas related to controlling others. I feel it is important to consider these issues when training our dogs. Control will come up as a major theme when you embark on a dog training program and even after you have quit formal training. Training never ends. You are training your dog anytime you interact with it. Your dog is always learning about its environment.

The Dogs Environment Matters in Dog Training and in Controlling Behavior
The Dogs Environment Matters in Dog Training and in Controlling Behavior

How the Environment controls behavior is a worthy area of consideration. The environment plays a part in controlling many aspects of dog training, self governance, and interacting with others. The Environment is a huge controlling variable.

The “Is Positive Reinforcement Best” series is setting the stage to work through the linguistic wrangling of a contentious question. I want to find an answer that will cut through the emotional clutter. Originally I intended this to be a short series of posts. Now I don’t know how long it will be. As I ponder the illusions and practices of controlling our dogs the project has become much more interesting.

One of the interesting attributes of dog training is it can take on many of the roles and functions found throughout society. It is a mix of Culture, Philosophy, Strategy, Science, Economics, Mythos and Personal Beliefs.

Dog training encompasses the human experience. Dog training gives us a way to both express and model what it is to be human. We can see the best and the worst of humanity in the human/dog experience. Dogs are micro cultures within a household and they are also players in a macro culture influencing world politics.

Edshu The Dog Trainer
Edshu The Dog Trainer

I have a wide area of interests so I may reference ideas that are culturally different than what is familiar to most. The figure of Edshu is from an African tradition. The Edshu story I am most familiar with is his causing mischief by wearing a red and black hat. It is quite common for me to don my imaginary black and red hat when I have some question that needs to be answered. In this series I am afraid I am going to wear that hat. So please forgive me I don’t want anyone to be judged or condemned because of my hat or my insight. The Edshu story as I learned it is a little different than the wikipedia version.

So many blogs I read are the same old thing; they just repeat what other people say.

I have read that when people explain what others want to know about it’s called being a thought leader. I may do that in this series of articles, but I hope to accomplish something more. Hopefully I can do more than explain an aging argument or an entrenched dogma. I hope to add new meaning to an old question. Find new answers and help people gain new insight. I do not desire to be a thought leader as much as I try to be a thought innovator. You wouldn’t want me to just rehash the same old thing would you?

When I first started training with food it was a time when most people condemned positive reinforcement training
When I first started training with food it was a time when most people condemned positive reinforcement training

One problem with innovation is it can be controversial. When I started using positive reinforcement, I was constantly told I could not do that with dog training. I took a lot of heat for my training style and my views of how best to control the dogs I worked with. Now some years later there is a new all positive reinforcement culture that has developed some interesting qualities of its own.

Until next time

Wishing you the best in dogs and the best in life,
Andrew Ledford
Southern California Dog training

Questions About All Positive Reinforcement Dog Training Is It really Best For Our Pets?


Pitbull dog training at the Beach

Here is a video of the first time I did any training with a friend’s new pit bull rescue. We were at Dog Beach in Long Beach, California. While this dog is wearing a pinch collar I don’t like starting the training process with this type of collar. In this video I try to use the leash and collar as little as possible. I do this by keeping the leash as loose as possible.

I wasn’t planning on doing any dog training on this trip to the beach. You may have read the post on planning and dog training. If I had planned for this training session I would have been better prepared.  In our daily lives we often find ourselves in a position to teach or train when an opportunity presents itself. I recommend that the novice dog owner/trainer avoid impromptu and unplanned training session until they have the skills to be successful in less than ideal conditions. These skills are a combination of training technique and theory combined with dog handling skills. Whenever engaging in an unplanned training session it’s still best to have some kind of a plan.  So even though I was running very low on food rewards I still developed a plan. By having a strategy I was able to accomplish some control that can be built on later.

One plan would be to start working the dog and use the pinch collar to make corrections. I imagine this would work okay, it’s just not what I would prefer doing. Instead we let the dog run and burn off some excess energy and then we started training with what little food I did have with me. Even with a small amount of food rewards it’s still possible do some dog training without using corrections. I am not against using leash and collar correction, but I did feel it wasn’t the right thing to do with this dog.

Pitbull Running off energy at Dog beach before dog training

Pitbull Running off energy at Dog beach before dog training

While working an active dog in a distracting environment is possible, it’s not ideal or necessarily easy. This is one reason for starting dog training in the dog’s home. Beginning the training in the dog’s home is especially helpful if you want to start the training process with softer techniques. After I worked at getting the dog to turn with me when it heard its name I began working on left circles. I saved a couple very small rewards to use at the end of the training session. One reward was for the last sit and one for an unforeseen event.

Dog Training Dog Beach Long Beach CA the last sit

Dog Training in Long Beach CA. at Dog Beach After the training sessions last sit