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Along with all the stupid sh*t that is passed along as gospel about dogs, there’s the rich arena of stupid sh*t about training dogs.

This is a doozy that is in a book by a “natural” dog trainer. I won’t go into the absurdity of labeling oneself a natural anything, other than to say it’s some silly sh*t. To teach a dog to come when called the set-up looked like this- Put a longline on the dog. Throw something or find a way to get the dog to run off after something. Before the dog reaches the end of the line, call the dog. If the dog stops and comes, all is well. If they don’t, whammo, they’ll hit the end of the line and receive what is termed a “shock,” not to be confused with an electrical shock.

I’m not sure how much thought went into coming up with this gem of bad advice but let’s break it down and see how it fits in with my three criteria; is it unfair, dangerous or stupid.

When a brain is attending to something it’s not unusual for it to not attend well to other things in the environment. There’s a great experiment online that was done using a group of basketball players. Check it out. If you are engrossed in something it is not that you are being disobedient or obstinate if you don’t hear someone talking to you, or the timer go off on the stove. So is it fair to get a dog to run after something, a hugely fun and awesome thing for a dog to do, and expect them to notice that you’ve called them? If your voice is not relevant to your dog is this the way you’re going to go about becoming relevant? I cry foul. This is NOT fair.

Have you ever seen a running dog hit the end of a line? I can’t imagine anyone, other than a chiropractor in need of business recommending that someone do this to their dog. Whether they’re wearing a collar or a harness they are often pulled off their feet and land on their backs. Dangerous? Check.

If passing the tests of being unfair and dangerous aren’t enough, there’s stupid. What if you want to teach your dog to run after balls or frisbees? Or you want to do something else with them that includes having them move away from you? You may have to teach your dog that they will only be brought up short when they have a leash on them otherwise they may worry about being “shocked.” 

There are books about dog training for dummies. With the amount of sh*t out we could have shelves of books of dog training by dummies. 

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