I DID NOT WRITE THIS: I'm not exactly sure where it came from - but I LOVE IT!!!!! ANYONE looking for training help, please, please take this good information into consideration...
See the Dog
The late Vicki Hearne was a dog trainer, author, professor and poet who (like Suzanne Clothier) had a God-given talent for painting word pictures, and used it to write a well received book describing her training interactions with her dog Salty. These interactions included witty descriptions of how she responded to Salty's love of digging holes by filling the holes with water and holding Salty's head under the water. Suzanne both quotes and paraphrases some of Hearne's descriptions--then goes on to offer a series of probing comments and questions:
If a child did something like this, might we not see that as a red flag that the child needed professional help? What happens on our journey from childhood to adulthood that changes us from children who were taught to be gentle and kind to our dogs, into men and women willing to tolerate violence, unable to recognize cruelty when we see it with our own eyes? At what point did we put on blinders and stop being able to "See the dog?"
Philosophy Vs. Practice: There is a a profound incongruence in dog training circles between the philosophy of kind treatment that gets so much lip service versus what is accepted and justified in practice --choking, hitting, jerking, pinching, dragging, gagging, biting--(obviously, I would add, shocking dogs to this list). SC points out that traditionally dogs with enough spirit to resist such treatment have only earned much harsher punishments that may even include hanging/helicoptering --a technique that can result in serious injury or death.
"In our minds, we can pity Black Beauty Beauty, be moved to tears by the poetry in a dog's soul, and yet still ask the question, 'How hard do you hit the dog'?"
"Add a catchy phrase and a cute gimmick and no will notice the dog's ears flattening on his head in apprehension...smile and chuckle while snapping the dog's collar harshly, drop some celebrity names, and maybe quote a philosopher, and it's a safe bet no one will notice the dog's tail wagging anxiously between his thighs...the emperor not only has new clothes, he may also be working on a new career as a dog trainer."
The Influence of Authority Figures: (Note from Diane: think Ceasr Milan here) This section recounts the results of a famous psychological study conducted by Stanley Milgram to test the willingness of the human subjects, students at Yale University, to follow orders to inflict an increasing level of pain on others.
The student subjects who were actually being studied were (falsely) told that they were participating in an experiment about the effects of punishment on memory and learning.
Their assigned job was to deliver an electric shock for any wrong answers by one of the people in the other group during sessions in which they believed these others were having their memories tested; unknown to them, the people in this second group were actually actors.
What made this study famous were the unexpected results: More than 60% of the Yale students were willing to follow the directions of the scientist they believed to be in charge, and to keep increasing the level of shock they delivered to the people in the other group--up to 450 volts -- in spite of what they believed to be the real "protests, pleas and screams" from their victims! Even more chilling was that the results of this study were subsequently repeated and upheld in several follow up studies. Although there was a rather wide spectrum of feelings displayed by the shockers, from minimal concern to great anxiety and weeping about the fate of those being shocked, apparently very few possessed the integrity and inner resources to defy authority.