State of Emergency: The Dog Training Crisis is Here

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Support our sponsors it helps us make More and better videos This is an ultra sensitive topic that Affects everyone in our community I Especially want to be respectful to People who train differently than I do Throughout this video I want to Challenge us all myself included to feel A little bit uncomfortable in this Conversation I really deep down feel Like this is a discussion worth having We need to have it now as a dog trainer I am deeply concerned about the future Of our industry given what I'm seeing on YouTube Tick Tock and Instagram My Hope And expectations with this video is that If I outline my concerns and I show what My current understanding of the data is That maybe I can be shown where I've Miscalculated or where I'm looking at This all wrong I seriously mean this I Genuinely want this to be a good faith Discussion and I'm going to be Presenting some questions throughout This video that I have a genuine Interest in hearing your response to I Want to make sure that we all feel free To discuss this topic openly and in a Way that is honest and without judgment On anyone So today we're going to go Over aversive dog training methods Definitions are very important in Discussions like this thank you a type Of behavior therapy designed to make

Patients give up an undesirable Habits By causing them to associate it with an Unpleasant effect there is a wide Spectrum of using aversives in dog Training it can be as simple as saying Nope you can't have that treat or on the More extreme end practically as we see It in dog training sometimes it can be a More heavy-handed approach with a choke Chain or a prong collar and Swift harsh Corrections being delivered at optimal Moments the purpose of aversives are to Discourage future Behavior by creating Something unpleasant that a dog will Associate with that thing in their mind We also really need to talk about the Difference between balance training and Compulsion training whether or not we Should incorporate punishments for more Extreme behaviors like aggression we're Going to examine why punishments are Still used in dog training today and Most importantly and this will be the Theme of the video whether it's Necessary to use aversive methods and if So when and what is the scientific data To back that claim up and this is a Really passionate topic for dog trainers Because it really centers around what Should we be telling the public about How to train their dog at home dog Trainers watching this we're all dog Trainers we all got into this because we Love dogs at no point am I ever

Questioning your love and dedication to Making dogs lives better I know that we All come at it from that perspective but We can still have a discussion on how to Make each other better right and I'm Hoping that you can help make me better The question I have is is it ever Necessary to use punishment particularly Physical punishment as part of a Behavior modification or training plan Even with extreme cases like aggressive Behavior and if so what is the Scientific data to support that claim Throughout this video we're going to Provide you with our perspective and the Data that we think supports that Perspective but I do want to remind Everyone that when we're having Discussions like this the burden of Proof lies on the party that's making The claim in this case it would be dog Trainers who are saying that sometimes Aversive methods are necessary I mean From where I sit to be honest with you Guys I think we are in a dog training Renaissance at the moment I mean dogs Are learning to talk with buttons right Now with every Innovative study that we See about this topic it's like oh wow Dogs are even smarter than most of us Guessed before so in general dog Behavior science is relatively new but We're finally starting to see a lot of Data come in in recent years right now

There is What can only be described as a major Disconnect with how the scientific Community looks at animal behavior and Dog behavior and what dog trainers are Teaching the public about dog behavior And so the general public has a certain Perception of how dogs should be trained Broadly speaking I think we agree There's a couple of ways that people Attempt to train their dogs they'll use Treats to let them know when they've Done something right and they might use Corrections or punishments to Communicate to the dog you've done Something that I don't like and to be Clear dog trainers refer to Corrections Like this even subtle ones like taking a Treat away from a dog when you're Encouraging them to sit and they don't Do it we refer to those things as Punishments things that are viewed as Unpleasant to the dog and as we Discussed before wide variants in the Use of various types of punishment in Dog training I do want to be clear that All punishments are not equally Impactful on a dog saying you can't have A piece of chicken to a dog probably Isn't viewed as as aversive to a dog as Using an electric collar in a situation That causes them discomfort a lot of People if not most people are going to Use a combination of rewards and

Punishments in their training virtually All dog trainers agree that rewards are Fantastic and productive for dog Training regardless of their disciplines In other words positive reinforcement Dog training amongst virtually all dog Trainers is the equivalent of green Vegetables are good for you in learning Theory the principles that govern how All animals learn punishments and Diversion are actually never required There is no known instance in the animal Kingdom we're using physical punishment Is required to create new Behavior or to Stop unwanted behavior and so if one is Making the claim that sometimes tools Like choke chains prawn collars and Electric collars are necessary to Deliver aversion to a dog to to Discourage future Behavior Then they would be responsible for Uncovering new science now look that is Not the same as saying that a version Isn't sometimes necessary in a dog's Life the question to me really centers Around the intentional use of aversives But let me give you an example let's say I have two dogs in my company they're Getting into a fight and I have to break Up a fight I may have to break up the Fight by grabbing them and separating The dogs in a very assertive way that The dogs could view as unpleasant but It's necessary in that moment that's not

What I'm talking about but never would a Dog trainer I hope not anyway assume oh That's how I train a dog not to fight And I'm not saying they do say that I'm Trying to explain that it really comes Down to using intentional aversives as Part of a behavior modification plan to Get a dog to behave as we wish them to To be or as a training program is that Distinction clear if a dogfight breaks Out I gotta break up the dog fight by Virtually any means necessary do I think That that is a wise trade training Approach to resolve the aggressive issue Long term no I do not what responsible Trainers do whether they use aversives Or not in their dog training is they Take a step back they develop a plan of How to address this issue ideally that Plan is should be a medium to long-term Goal because it's a complex issue and Give their client the appropriate advice About how to systematically desensitize How to counter condition and how to get That dog on the path this actually isn't Even controversial but virtually all Behavior science where physical Punishment is used virtually always Concludes that there are long-term Welfare concerns even though Scientifically speaking there is no Known instance where aversive methods Are required we still see punishments Implemented frequently throughout the

Dog training Community to resolve deeply Complex issues now to the studies in dog Training that are often referenced were Both done in 2017 and they're both Comprehensive of reviews studies of Studies so to speak and the purpose of These studies was to try to get an Overall consensus as to really how your Dogs at home should be trained and Advised by professional dog trainers but The results of both of these Compilations of studies suggests that Aversive methods are correlated with Stress behaviors elevated cortisol Levels and this is an important one fear And aggression within dogs now one of These studies reviewed 17 different Scientific papers that compared Reward-based training methods to Training methods that incorporated Punishment there were five surveys that Compared a variety of different training Methods and they found that people who Incorporate aversive techniques in their Training are more likely to report fear And aggression or behavior problems Those surveys were met with skepticism By some and we'll talk about that in a Moment the review also looked at three Other studies that directly observed Dogs and those studies also found that Using aversive methods might likely Affect canine welfare and negatively Hacked Behavior researchers also

Attempted to look at dog to dog Aggression by including a questionnaire Study that found that dogs who were Trained using aversive techniques were More likely to be the perpetrator in Dog-to-dog interactions now in the case Of this study this included some people Using War extreme types of punishments Like hitting them or shaking them which Most modern dog trainers balanced or Positive alike don't agree with the Study also took a look at the efficacy Of bar collar shock collars and electric Fences results suggest that using those Tools might be painful or frightening to Some dogs as well as having negative Effects between a dog and their Handler Their overall welfare and their training Performance this study of studies also Concluded that reward-based methods Don't carry with them the same long-term Welfare concerns and might actually be More effective but the question isn't is It more effective to use one method or The other the question is is it Necessary to use aversives in dog Training today I have zero desire to Cherry pick data that supports my Perspective instead my perspective is Informed by the scientific data that I'm Aware of criticisms of these studies are Certainly valid but it's not about any One study in and of itself rather it's The body of science that should inform

Our opinion obviously further research Is always needed in all aspects of Science with people who don't Necessarily agree or like the findings Of these studies one thing that I've Noticed is that some will be quick to Toss out the validity of the studies Because for example they included a lot Of survey studies now you might remember In a recent video we actually talked About what went into a proper survey Study it isn't as though it's just some People sitting in a room who come up With some random questions a good survey Study has been shown to deliver accurate Data and weed out the noise sometimes People like to think that it's better to Have a trained professional come in and Observe a pet dog if that's what's being Studied because they're going to know What to look for and the right data to Gather but if you think about that there Are some issues with that approach as Well how many different contexts can a Trained professional evaluate a dog in In a short period of time but if the dog Is having an off day what if being Observed in and of itself causes the dog To behave differently so in many cases Guardians giving information about their Own dogs is the most accurate way to Gather necessary information depending On what's being studied of course the People who typically know their dogs

Best are the guardians of those pets and If we can ask the questions in a way That regular people can answer and we Found a scientific way to weed out much Of the noise that can be a wealth of Data as it relates to dog behavior so It's not necessarily valid to say oh Survey studies too much room for error You didn't invent that the scientists Thought of that already these studies Are published in scientific peer review Journals I say that to let you know that They have undergone and conformed to the Scientific method to the best of our Ability what about since 2017 I mean That was five years ago well more and More findings keep coming out studies Done in 2018 2019 2020 2021 and 2022 Today continue to support that aversive Approaches in dog training have with Them long-term welfare concerns and I Will tell you this right now on the Record if we start getting a large body Of science that starts to come in that Suggests that these physical Corrections That I'm skeptical of right now are Necessary or that they contribute to a Dog's long-term well-being or that They're more effective then I will do a 180 on this like that and again I'm not Trying to be difficult on this at all Right now but to suggest that aversives Are necessary as part of a behavior Modification plan or a training plan is

At odds with what science tells us being On the other side of science on this Issue is a scary place to be when we're In our scientific profession this is a Complex issue amongst dog trainers so There's more to cover let's continue if You're with me so far I can hear many of You saying Zach that's great positive Reinforcement is fine but it's not Appropriate for all dogs in all Situations some dogs need those physical Corrections particularly those who have Issues of aggressive behavior for Example if a dog is so scared of humans They might lash out and bite them and so Maybe it becomes easier to justify the Use of these tools because a dog biting Humans ends badly for a dog aggression And huge part in dog training does stem From fear and anxiety there are many Known ways to address fear and anxiety That do not involve the use of aversive Punishments this is not controversial in The field of animal behavior to the Contrary it's well established keep in Mind though that aggressive behavior can Also stem from Instinct fear stress Hormonal changes social dynamics Genetics and environmental factors of Course it is shown time and time again Throughout the animal kingdom including Dogs and humans that punishing Aggressive behavior as a strategy to Eliminate it long term is not only

Unnecessary but extremely likely to be Counterproductive what is the scientific Data on dog aggression one 2017 study Showed successful Rehabilitation of dogs Who had resource guarding issues and for That they use clicker training alone Which is generally considered to be Exclusively positive reinforcing now the Sample size size was very small on this Study but the results were still clear At least with these dogs every single Dog in the study showed Improvement and Aversive Punishment was not used at any Point in the study so there's a study That shows you that at least in this Case it was not necessary to use Aversion to get the dogs to stop Guarding resources another recent 2022 Study surveyed people in the UK who were Seeking help with their dogs and hired Canine professionals some of them were Positive some of them may use mixed Methods but the bottom line is even Though aggression was the number one Reason people were likely to hire one of These trainers they didn't perceive any Difference between those who used more Aversive methods versus those who use Methods that did not include aversions So bottom line is that they were Perceived as equally effective to people Seeking out dog training in the UK so Even here where we see aversives okay Yeah they're just as good as positive

Reinforcement they work but here's the Thing though if all things are equal Why would we add punishment if it's not Necessary so again none of these studies Are showing us we're using aversive Methods are necessary this is a great Study also a 2021 study really examined How dogs behave in a Veterinary setting Dogs are probably more likely to behave Aggressively in that setting where pain Is sometimes unavoidable they're getting Shots maybe they need to be restrained For one reason or another they used Positive reinforcement and time and Patience they were able to correlate a Reduction in aggressive behaviors they Did that by using easy managing Techniques and positive reinforcement Another 21 study looked into the Effectiveness of various techniques for The treatment of canine aggression and Found that positive methods tended to be The most consistent beneficial technique Even in the case of aggressive behavior This isn't even new BF Skinner the Person who coined the quadrants positive Reinforcement negative reinforcement Positive punishment negative punishment Understood that punishment wasn't ideal And noticed considerable side effects BF Skinner himself noticed that punishment Could lead to increased aggression Decreased motivation lower self-esteem And even decreased compliance when using

These physical punishments and his Experiments the case to use a lot of These controversial methods in dog Training is that there are four Quadrants we should use all of them but This probably isn't the optimal Interpretation of the four quadrants Which brings us to our next section Let's talk about balanced training I Hate labels especially as they relate to Other humans and dogs but there are a Couple of labels that we can't deny are Pretty relevant to this situation Broadly speaking there are two main Types of dog trainers there are those Trainers who do not intentionally use Aversives as part of their behavior Modification or training plan and then There are those trainers who will Consider the use of using one of the Three tools we've talked about choke Chains prong collars electric collars or Some other potentially aversive methods As part of their approach if they deem It necessary for that particular dog so The first type of trainer we talked About is generally considered Force free That doesn't mean though that force-free Trainers never use aversives they're Just not ever a part of a formal Training plan for a dog but in general The goal is to not have to rely on Aversives at all and design a training Plan that takes that into account and

Then of course the second type is the Type of trainer who will keep on the Table and consider the use of aversive Methods when training dogs trainers like This are often considered balanced dog Trainers the term balanced is supposed To refer to Skinner's four quadrants and How they should all be considered and Used when training a dog and it sounds So sensible especially since it's drawn For equal parts so they'll use positive Reinforcement sometimes they'll use Punishment negative or positive Punishment we can get into all that Another time they may consider the use Of Choke prong or electric collars at Some point in their training and if We're all being honest all of those Tools are specifically engineered to be Aversive to dogs when used as directed Some people will take me to task on that And I don't unders if I am wrong about That please tell me why that's not the Case so amongst trainers who call Themselves balance the spectrum is quite Wide there are trainers who will just You know default from day one to using Tools on dogs like choke pong electric Collars throw other trainers who will Use it once every two years the thing That the trainers have in common is that They refer to themselves as balanced However within the balanced dog training Community you have the two sets of what

Many of us would call compulsion Trainers over here and then those who Are going to use tools far more Reluctantly over here balanced dog Trainers this is why dog training Methods are highly confusing to the Public it would seem so compulsion Trainers are typically those really Heavy-handed dog trainers that you'll See very common on social media you'll Often see them just very early on in the Training process put one of the tools We've talked about earlier on the dog And just more or less default to that It's not like on the third fourth fifth Lesson with these guys and very often They'll get these dogs to submit like That we need to discuss why that is Highly problematic and truthfully most Positive and balanced dog trainers we're All kind of seeing the same thing that Compulsion trainers definitely refer to Themselves as balanced a huge number of The time and there's a lot of compulsion Under the Umbrella of so-called balance Training and and there's a divide in the Ethics there I feel like the term Balanced has been so tarnished I mean Really if you're using positive Reinforcement 98 of the time You're practically there maybe kick the Ladder out see if you can do it without The tools because I think you can and I Think you can do it more often than you

Think you can do you know where I think The disconnect lies like really if I Could just pinpoint and put my finger on The issue it's this as we established Earlier science is telling us that all Behaviors can be modified or trained Without the use of aversive so far we've Found no exceptions to that with any Animal humans included and I think That's why we get so emotional about This issue sometimes our peers and our Friends and dog training often are Telling us that actually there are Exceptions to learning theory and dog Training but the science doesn't support That if I've missed something bring it To my attention because I just want to Be a better dog trainer so the Observation we continue to make is that The more someone approaches this craft In good faith makes an effort to learn What collectively we all know the less Likely they are to use aversives in Their training and there's evidence to Support this is if you're a certified Dog trainer you're less likely to use Punishments in your training is it that Aversives are sometimes necessary even Though that's inconsistent with Scientific theory or is it that at some Point in the training process we as dog Trainers encounter something that Becomes challenging to us and we resort To using punishment because we don't

Know what to do next that is okay that Is I've been there many times so I would Not cast judgment on on any dog trainer In that situation one thing I like to do Is to research the topic in more depth Talk to trainers that I really trust on The matter so I'm not shaming anyone who Doesn't know what to do in challenging Situations I want to get at even a Deeper question here in spite of what we Know scientifically why are aversives in Dog training as a whole still so common We are all a product of our system you Know what I'm saying is we're all Product of our system so if we are our Environment is encouraging us to behave A certain way in relation to dogs we're More likely to do that and then you know How environmental culture goes I mean it's a mess I mean it's So it's very multifaceted so with the Mounting welfare concerns that we're Seeing in the scientific Community why Is there still such a disconnect between What science is telling us and what's Being practiced in the field now we're Getting into like what I see as the real Stuff here One 2018 study looked at this very Question and tried to actually Identify Some of these barriers that were Preventing people from updating their Dog training knowledge Dr zazzy Todd Wrote this study to try to illustrate

The wide range of factors that might Influence people's use or non-use of Humane dog training methods there's a Lot of things at play here including a Person's personality their individual Beliefs their education and their Knowledge of dog training their Awareness of professional bodies Position statements in their industry Perceive social pressure from their Family and friends and peers the Situation is compounded by the lack of Certification standards for dog trainers And the widespread availability of poor Quality as well as high quality dog Training advice plus the promotion of Aversive training techniques by local Trainers as well as celebrity trainers Because there's a divide amongst us dog Trainers in terms of training Philosophies the public is left with This idea that there is not consensus With how we should approach dog training Even though though there actually is a Scientific consensus Dr Todd also Pointed out that dog training is a Skilled activity people might give up on Positive reinforcement if they don't Feel like they're making enough progress And that causes discouragement it seems That one of the things we've got to Overcome is people trusting their Instincts to train their dogs I can Understand that right not everyone's

Going to be like oh let me go brush up On the latest science of dog training Because I got a new puppy I get it there Was a really interesting survey study in Italy that asked people Um how where they got their dog training Information from right 55 percent of People listed myself as their main Source I am not even going to criticize That how many things do I do in my Day-to-day life that I don't get a Professional record I don't have a Personal trainer and I try to work out That's probably a bad idea so out of That 55 percent who answered myself what Are the numbers 42 said that their Education was influenced by the Internet TV or a book I think everyone can agree That there's a ton of missing Information as it relates to training Dogs in the public eye and 13 percent Said that they got their dog training Knowledge instinctively sometimes our Instincts aren't as good as science That's all I'm saying in 2017 there was A study that looked at popular dog Training books in the U.S UK and New Zealand it found a wide variety of Training techniques recommended from Straight up positive reinforcement in Some cases to the extremes of how hard a Dog should be hit and plus there was Demonstrably untrue information as well As metaphysical information in these

Books again with all of this Inconsistent information it's easy to See why the public remains confused I Don't think any professional dog trainer Wants to be presenting outdated Information to their customers to the Public or anything and I don't think any Of them intentionally do so an article In society and animals looked at how Dogs are viewed in dog training culture In Finland this was interesting and so This study found a difference between What they call dog-centered and Human-centered dog training approaches So if you are a dog-centered trainer That meant that you approached dog Training as more of an equal partnership Where you shared power you allow the dog To make mistakes with the aim of Reinforcing when they do what you like And then build from there so in contrast To that human Center dog trainers viewed The relationship not so much as a Partnership but more hierarchical so This discrepancy of viewing the training Relationship as more of a partnership or More of a one-sided relationship seems To really be at the root of this divide Around the world I'm speaking very Broadly here and there will be Exceptions to this many trainers who Implement aversives in their training Expect a dog to obey a command Immediately and if the dog doesn't

Comply then they're either punished Until they do the behavior or the Handler May physically assist them in Making the behavior happen in some way And so dogs who are being trained with Positive reinforcement are encouraged to Try things on their own since we want Them to think for themselves mistakes Just aren't punished so when you look at Both of these approaches look how the Power Dynamic is distributed in one case You have a partnership and another case You have I'm a human the dog is here to Serve me type attitude a positive Reinforcement approach actually gives Some power to the dog as they brainstorm And mistakes are tolerated and then Successes are rewarded it's very Powerful a 2017 study pointed out that Positive reinforcement training does Demand more from a trainer though that's Because you have to really pay a lot of Attention to a dog's body language and How they're behaving in a certain Context their emotional state and what It really takes to set up that Individual dog to succeed I can see how That's perceived as a barrier because I Mean there is a little more knowledge Required to kind of manage those Situations it's not as basic as you know You don't listen I'm going to make you Listen or and again not saying all Trainers who use aversives train that

Way necessarily Stay focused I think we all agree that Every professional dog trainer needs to Take agency in their craft and in the Dogs that they work with I don't think That we can deny the cultural impacts That bleed into dog training how it is Representative of how Society views Certain roles and that might be Affecting people's adoption of using Positive reinforcement-based methods in Their training I think we would be wise To be aware of cultural systemic issues That affect our profession as well we're Not done yet remember the focus of this Video is when is it ever necessary to Use aversives as part of a behavior Modification or training plan with dogs In some areas studies are slim Especially as it relates to dogs we Actually have a strong precedent of how Punishment affects human behavior in our Culture already and that is well studied We also have the understanding that Mammals of all kinds have been shown to Learn and process emotions in similar Ways in light of that the position Statement of the American Psychological Association on corporal punishment and Children is pretty clear scientific Evidence demonstrates that physical Discipline of children by parents and Other caregivers can harm children's Mental health and possibly increase

Their propensity toward aggressive Behavior Research indicates that Physical discipline is not effective in Achieving a parent's long-term goals of Decreasing aggressive and defiant Behavior in children or of promoting Regulated and socially competent Behavior in children the research on the Adverse outcomes associated with Physical discipline indicates that any Perceived short-term benefits of Physical Discipline Do not outweigh the Detriments of this form of discipline Now I mean Take it I understand that's talking About humans the parallels are pretty Striking one study found 10 negative Outcomes for corporal punishment in Children but one benefit one benefit was Immediate compliance isn't this what we Often see when aversives are used in Training immediate compliance we'll see A wild and crazy dog immediately stop Doing something after some firm Corrections and that can be highly Persuasive to the public they just want A well-behaved dog and they want one as Soon as possible but you know what else We're seeing is the likelihood of up to 10 other potential outcomes as a result Of that compulsion the negative outcomes Of punishment in children included Aggression reduced mental health

Increase criminal or anti-social Behavior and a reduced quality Relationship with the parents I don't Think it's totally wrong to draw this Parallel at all because of how closely Dogs and people actually are people like To point out how different they are and They are very different we are Completely different species but I will Remind you that learning theory doesn't Just apply to one animal at a time or One kind of animal it applies to all Animals humans and dogs included these Are very similar to the dog training Results that we talked about earlier I Mean some of us might remember a time When corporal punishment in schools and At home was a hotly debated Topic in Society but these days and tell me if You agree with this we've seen a Dramatic shift to positive reinforcement In parenting culture and that's because We understand that it's been shown to be More effective and that those side Effects are very real and not worth the Risks okay if we are collectively able To acknowledge that there's no known Instance where physical aversion is Necessary in order to modify Behavior or Teach new behavior in humans or any Other animal what justification do we as Professionals have making it part of a Regular training regimen that is the Question even if you think that the

Science is way too flawed in the dog Field way too flawed and learning theory The burden of proof to support your case Lies with the person making the claim in This case the person who says that Aversives are necessary sometimes in dog Training and if one feels that way they Must then show the scientific data that Supports that hypothesis and I'm not Trying to be nitpicky here but remember Dog training by its very nature is a Scientific profession we are the ones Trusted with getting living beings to Behave differently than they do right Now I'm dying to get your feedback on This as a professional trainer I'm Really curious to see what your Perspective is I encourage you guys to Follow us on social we have freedom to Get into these topics even more so Sometimes on Tick Tock and Instagram if You've got a new puppy get them a pup Box use my special link to get half off Zach will have that and the Coupon code in the description below so We're working on lots of exciting things Still behind the scenes thanks for being Patient with us and we'll see you guys In the next video

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