Do you have a dog who needs training? Have you searched the internet for help, but ended up more confused than when you first started? Not surprising! There is so much information – good and bad – out there pertaining to how to train a dog and it is very difficult to figure out which way to turn. Well, we are here to help you better understand this problem and address your training needs.
In the next few weeks, the first volume of our dog training series – The Dog’s Perspective: How to Train a Dog by Thinking Like a Dog will be available. Volume 1 is the Philosophy Primer. We are so excited to share this information with you so that you can better understand how to train your dog. Dog training can be complex and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Actually, it shouldn’t be confusing at all, if you truly understand dogs. We sifted through the multitude of dog training information available on internet sites and dog training guides to make better sense of what is available. In fact, all that information can be sorted into two basic training philosophies, described in the book as the Wolf’s Perspective and the Human’s Perspective. The purpose of the Philosophy Primer is two-fold. First, these two basic training philosophies are presented and evaluated from a scientific viewpoint. Second, a third training philosophy, the Dog’s Perspective, is presented that is based not only on behavioral psychology, but equally important on other sciences, especially the biology of dogs. Below is a brief excerpt from the book. We look forward to having the full book available very soon. Until then, we will be sharing some sneak peeks. Hope you enjoy!
Excerpt from The Dog’s Perspective: How to Train a Dog by Thinking Like a Dog – Volume 1: Philosophy Primer
The Dog’s Perspective
The Dog’s Perspective is a training philosophy based on how dogs think, especially how dogs view, interpret and communicate with the world. Understanding how dogs think is based on scientific research, with particular emphasis on dog biology. Because training is from the dog’s perspective, this approach meets four fundamental training requirements: dog-friendly, human-friendly, humane and dogmane. Dogs are neither tamed wolves nor 4-legged humans, and should not be treated as such. Dogs love structure and boundaries, and thrive when their needs are clearly understood and satisfied. This is fully achieved when honoring the fact that dogs are dogs, the only species who readily communicates and cooperates with our human species.
The two popular dog training philosophies, the Wolf’s Perspective and the Human’s Perspective, are unbalanced approaches because not only are they both skewed toward one of two opposing views, but they mutually share a critical flaw – dogs are not treated as dogs. In one case, dogs are considered wolves; while in the other case, they are viewed as 4-legged humans. The Wolf’s Perspective treats dogs as adversarial wolf relatives and strives to dominate dogs to get the upper hand in situations. The Human’s Perspective treats dogs as 4-legged humans and assumes that dogs are capable of making human-desired choices, which brings high expectations and ultimate frustrations.
These unbalanced training approaches leave many humans stressed and innocent dogs ineffectively trained, often times leading to dogs being rehomed, surrendered to shelters or completely abandoned. A balanced training approach treats dogs as the 4-legged canines they are and based on sound science. This is the objective of the Dog’s Perspective.
Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper and certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) with Lucky Dog Training Asheville and has over 30 years of training experience. The Dog’s Perspective is a training philosophy based on how dogs think.