As a dog owner, it is sometimes very difficult to keep track of the dog training jungle. Five experts reveal what really matters in a human-to-dog relationship.
Before buying a dog, all people should ask themselves which dog is right for them. You always have to consider what needs and character traits you have, what needs and character traits the respective dog has. Is it compatible with each other? And very important: you have to have time for a dog. A dog is not a toy that you dig out when you need it and then leave it to gather dust for weeks.
In addition to the expertise of the dog school, the most important thing is that the dog trainer should show respect and patience for both humans and dogs. When you approach a dog school where you can hear the dog trainers roaring in the square from a distance, you can confidently turn back straight away.
In addition, you cannot impose the same training concept on all dogs according to the scheme F. Therefore, there should always be an individual consultation at the beginning. This is the only way for the trainer to filter out the real needs of dogs and people and create an appropriate training plan. And finally, the chemistry has to be right: I have to be on good terms with the trainer, only then can trust develop in the collaborative work.
Martin Rütter is an entertainer, presenter, bestselling author and Germany’s most famous dog trainer. To date, he has trained over 180 dog trainers.
In the dog school, humans and dogs have to feel comfortable. © Stock.adobe.com/Christian Müller
The prerequisite for solving a behavior problem is always to work on the cause and not just on the symptoms. What we as humans experience with our dogs is the superficial. The dog barks, pulls or reacts aggressively on the leash – and that bothers me as the owner. But the cause of behavior is usually completely different. Put yourself in the dog’s perspective and observe the overall situation closely. In a conflict, you should always look at both sides: dog and human.
Masih Samin works as a dog behavior therapist with aggressive, anxious and traumatized dogs.
In the event of problems, the overall situation must always be considered. © Stock.adobe.com/Christian Müller
Today it is better to be nice to dogs than to set limits. A general phenomenon that I often come across are dogs that lead their humans in everyday life. If the dog pulls its owner on the leash from A to B, that’s okay. But if the dog is poking around on the leash, it mustn’t be. The dog does what it was originally taught: “Be responsible for me!”. Then he is responsible – and mobbing – and is punished for it.
Perdita Lübbe-Scheuermann has been running the dog academy in Darmstadt since 1994.
One problem: the dog often leads people. © Stock.adobe.com/Iulia
When training, I work with a leash when the dogs cannot be retrieved and with a muzzle when they bite. Otherwise I do without aids. When a person communicates with the dog, it is a social confrontation and therefore something very intimate. Bringing in any means like clickers or throwing chains is just a bother.
The dogs are often not rewarded with food, but rather manipulated in their behavior – a kind of “icing control”. Of course, that doesn’t mean that a person is not allowed to give their dog biscuits, but that only plays a subordinate role for me in training.
Norman Mrozinski is a dog trainer, lecturer, non-fiction author, animal rights activist and blogger. As a trainer, he specializes in the aggressive behavior of dogs.
Too many treats in training are considered by some trainers to be wrong. © Stock.adobe.com/Petra Eckerl
The commerce around the dog has increased in the last few years that it is difficult for dog owners to understand where professional competence is bundled. Basically, I would differentiate between conventional “sit, down, feet” training and working with “problem dogs”.
In the “Sit, Down, Feet” training, the owners are instructed in how to teach their dog something, that is, how to reward properly or how to lead the dog into the right position. When training with “difficult” dogs, the main thing is that the dog takes its owner seriously.
Lots of people today are so nice to their dogs – which is okay – but the other side is missing. The dog has no one to lean on but also to adapt to. Today’s dogs are expected to use the nice thing about people as an argument to adapt – and that can’t work. If I’m just nice, I’m not quality. But when I also have a separate, serious side, my being nice becomes emotional fireworks.
In addition, it is now often suggested that there are better ways of bringing up children than punishment. However, there is no scientific evidence that one can learn things that are existential without punishment.
Michael Grewe is a dog trainer, author, lecturer and co-founder of CANIS – Center for Cynology, one of the leading training institutions for dog trainers in Germany.