Attention is considered the most basic form of behavior and “both classical and instrumental elements closely cooperate” mediating effective “perception and action” (Lindsay, 2000). In a broader view, “attentional activities specify a dog’s intentions, reveal a dog’s motivational state” and sometimes define what he is prepared to learn, thus “attentional activities” are said to “reflect a dog’s overall disposition to learn” (Lindsay, 2000). How we stimulate and control dog’s attentional behavior can have profound effect on training and behavior modification. Lindsay (2000) says “dogs pay attention to occurrences that are significant to them and learn to ignore occurrences that are irrelevant” and stimuli associated with pleasurable events or those associated with fearful events gain the most attention than other irrelevant stimuli.
Why consider the use of Shock Collars (E-Stimulus, E-Touch) carefully This is a bit technical but brief overview on this issue. I will do my best to make it easy for everyone to understand. In the JVB (2007) Overall evaluated the molecular and cellular use of shock on the learning process. She suggested, "we may be changing other behaviors or processes” with these collars technically called E-Stimulus Devices. Overall (2007) uses what she describes as “a landmark study” by Schilder and van der Borg published in Applied Animal Behavior (2004). Schilder and van der Borg noticed dogs exhibiting more stress related behavior when using these types of devices. Stress related behavior continued with the control group, during free time in the handlers presence while at parks, when dogs should be relaxed. Stress behaviors and/or conflict resolution behaviors is extensively defined in recent dog literature.
Learned helplessness is a complex behavior first identified by Seligman in 1967 who was studying experimental neurosis. One of Seligman’s experiments found “…dogs exposed to traumatic inescapable shock showed signs of neurotic elaboration and disintegration on cognitive, emotional, and motivational levels of organization” according to Lindsay (2000).
Punitive dog training, coercive whispering, and outdated behaviour therapy: What might it be doing to YOUR DOG! There are still huge numbers of ‘stamp and jerk’ dog trainers and ‘whisperers’ at large with their choke chains, spiked collars, shock collars, rape alarms, correction sticks and bullying attitudes who haven’t chosen to move on into the humane, modern age of dog training. ASK WHY? of those trainers who still want to be cruel to your dog by training with punishment, correcting jerks and coercion when kind training methods are so much better, and are so very widely known and applied all over the world these days?
“Behavior modification exercises are NOT, repeat NOT, obedience exercises. At the very outset, clients should be disabused of the notion that this is fancy obedience.” Karen L. Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, ACVB, ABS Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Psychiatry Department, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In August 2006, the first Journal of Veterinary Behavior was published. This first publication included an article titled “Good trainers: How to identify one and why this is important to your practice of veterinary medicine.” The article emphasized why it is important to choose the right dog trainer emphasizing characteristics, training methods, tools and how punishment should be addressed. Understanding the differences when making your choice for training and behavior problem solving creates a win-win situation for you and your pet.