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What Makes Nature Do the Things She Does, or Why E-collars Fail

By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll better understand how Nature works, and you’ll better understand what makes your dog do some of the things they do. Thinking through Nature’s ways, you’ll see how DOuGTrainer’s Reflective Dog Leadership does what it does and accomplishes what it does so effectively—it’s because The DOuGTrainer’s RDL parallels Nature and Nature’s ways. He’s cracked Nature’s code.

  • Put on your THIMKING caps, and remember to always use common sense.
  • In the wild, Nature has animals programmed to watch other animals—if they don’t watch other animals, they’d be killed.
  • So dogs are supposed to be watching us. They’re supposed to be making eye contact with us.
  • Here’s a problem: we’re so busy, we’re so rushed, we’re so impatient, we don’t make eye contact with them. This is bad.
  • When I make eye contact with a dog, they’re triggered by Nature to submit to me. It’s programmed into their DNA.
      • Warning: some dogs submit, but
      • Some dogs will get aggressive first, then submit. Its dynamics are complex and are covered elsewhere.
  • The submissions I trigger in my dog are voluntary, instantaneous, yet temporary. Repetition makes them permanent.
  • When dogs don’t get eye contact, they don’t get triggered to be relaxed. Stop and think about that for a moment: “What I DON’T do…”
  • When dogs don’t get triggered by their leaders to be relaxed, (on a 0-10 scale) they take on 5-10 level behaviors and characteristics, none of which are good.
  • To repeat: triggering dogs to be relaxed has to be done with caution. On a 0-10 scale:
      • Triggering a 0-5 level, relaxed dog results in fatigue and sleep.
      • Triggering a 5-10 level, not-relaxed dog results in
          • aggression first, then
          • fatigue and sleep.
      • That aggression—in its worst case—can be fatal. Therefore, do NOT do this unless you know what you’re doing.
  • The handoff from an outgoing leader to a new leader is done without fighting. Nature doesn’t want anyone injured. That handoff isn’t taken personally.
  • Consider this observation: the first time I do anything with a dog is going to be the hardest and take the longest. That’s common sense.
  • Also, the most important lessons I teach my dog are going to be the longest and the most uninteresting to me, but they’ll be the most important thing to them.
  • Dog leadership is a race where the last one crossing the finish line wins; the last one crossing the finish line will always be your dog.
  • For that reason, always look for the solution which claims to take the LONGEST remedy any dog problem,
      • not the shortest,
      • not the fastest,
      • nor any other quick fix solution.
  • Given two different ways of accomplishing the same thing with a dog, always choose the LONGER of the two ways—choosing the longer of the two ways:
      • affirms the failure in the Old School, forced, human approaches to K9 training,
      • affirms an acknowledgement of the New School understanding of human approach to K9 training,
      • honors Nature,
      • honors the dog’s nature,
      • acknowledges an understanding of the need to wait for physical confirmation of acceptance on the part of the dog in, during, and through their training, and
      • allows for the best possibility that the dog’s mind-and-brain will make its decision before you throw in the towel, lose patience, get distracted, or give up.
  • Choosing the longer of the two methods also maximizes your interaction time with your dog, which anchors, sets, defines, establishes, and maintains the relationship between the two of you.
  • The points above are the informal proof why all e-collars don’t work long term, won’t work long term, and shouldn’t be used.

Relationships comes first—tricks come second. Establish the best relationship possible between you and your dog. Your relationship with your dog is key in their becoming a 0-5 level, relaxed, voluntarily submissive, calm dog. The human culture has little foundation for, has little experience with the discussion of, and puts little value in the discussion of relationships in general. In the human-K9 world it’s essential that the human acknowledge the relationship and build the relationship to the best level and to the highest degree that they’re able and aware.

You always want a relaxed, voluntarily submissive, calm, balanced dog. Once you have him there, keep him there.

Doug Parker
—The DOuGTrainer