This is an important issue. As the leading animal behaviorist, Dr. Roger Mugford states in his excellent book “Dr.Mugford’s Casebook”, “dogs have an intelligence and keenness to conform to their master’s wishes which makes complicated and aversive methods unnecessary.”
He adds: “We never begin to utilize the full extent of a dog’s intelligence in our training.”

Since consistent repetition of any procedure tends to produce a change in the dog’s behaviour, it is not surprising that each of the methods of training described  (in his book), and many more, have attracted their disciples. “But I and many of the pet owners we see do not really wish our animals to conform to strict universal rules.

We want them to retain their personality, their joie de vivre, their trust in us based upon a sense of security and affection rather than fear.”Wise words, indeed. Each dog is an individual and they should no more be made to conform to every rule in this book than I would expect every trainer and behaviorist in the world to conform to the same methods.

Dr. Mugford goes on to state in his book that “the greatest misunderstanding afflicting the world of dogs is the notion of dominance…the owner and his family are supposed to fit within such a pack structure, exerting a regulatory hand over all aspects of the dog’s life. I have always been uneasy about this concept because it has been used to justify excessive punishment and force in training.”

I advocate the theory of dominance in this book but it should never be taken as justification for trying to control everything a dog does and never as an excuse for unkindness. No dog should ever be made to conform to all our human requirement.

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