“It is the writer’s firm conviction that the training of a dog is not so much a matter of rule, as of art. Some people will fail utterly even when trying to accomplish a result in exact accordance with the best rules known. Others will somehow succeed splendidly even though they may proceed in apparently direct opposition to all the accepted standards of practice.” – Horace Lytle
This is from a dog training book written in the 1920’s and although training has undoubtedly changed over the years this remains as true now as it was then. If anything the increasingly scientific approach to most dog training has caused an even greater rift between the two extremes, indirectly fuelling the rise in many of the problems seen today, with phobias and aggression still occurring in dogs that have been to the recommended puppy training classes and received all the certificates.
The art of dog training is where I now concentrate my studies, looking to create a relationship based on cooperation and trust, using exercises to develop these skills without resorting to behaviourism rules. It pays to be rewarding, but rewards are not going to tackle phobias and aggression. The emotional bedrock can only be reached through developing rapport and strengthening the connection, allowing then the problems at the core to soften.
If you have problems with your dog that haven’t been resolved even though you’ve been to class and followed all the usual recommendations you might be ready to study the art of dog training.