What training collars and makeup have in common
Training collars are a lot like makeup. They do a really good job of covering things up, but at the end of the day if you don’t do things right that’s all they are: a cover-up.
Today I woke up, looked in the mirror and gasped: I had three small zits on my face. Now, I was prone to acne as a kid but as an adult breakouts have been very rare.
Seeing as how I have group classes today and will be seeing lots of clients, the last thing I want is to have a bunch of tiny zits on my face so my first thought was: Thank God for makeup.
That said, to eliminate the acne, I really do have two different routes I can take: makeup or preventative care. I can cake on the makeup and cover it up, put on powder, bronzer, blush, eye shadow, you name it. My face will look beautiful (ha). But at the end of the day, or half-way through the day as seems to be the case with my cheap-o makeup, that makeup will wear off and the zits will still be there. My other option is to figure out why my face is breaking out in the first place. Is it stress, caffeine, sugar intake, am I not drinking enough water, poor food choices…or a combination of all of the above?! To prevent future breakouts, I’ll opt for analyzing option two instead of taking the easier short-term route.
Training collars are a lot like makeup. You can slap a collar on a brand new dog who pulls on the leash, and temporarily most likely the pulling will be significantly reduced. (This is what I call shock-and-awe training; you’ll find lots of YouTube videos showcasing this ‘miraculous’-type training). But truth be told, as soon as you take that collar off, the pulling will resume. Why? Because the collar isn’t the solution to the pulling problem. Figuring out why the dog is pulling in the first place is the solution: is it lack of foundation training, lack of relationship, distracted by the environment, lack of focus, lack of motivation, lack of communication?! Most likely, all of the above.
See my point?
Training collars are fantastic; Lord help me if I didn’t have makeup (ha!). But, I’m not a fan of caking on makeup to make up for skin issues. Instead, I prefer to do things the right way the first time around. That’s the same approach I take to training. I invest heavily into teaching a dog how to do things such as heel, sit/stay, down/stay, come when called, walk nicely on leash, etc, and I use reward-based training techniques to do this so that the dog has a good attitude towards training and wants to learn. I lay the foundation (and how long this takes varies from dog to dog), and then when the dog understands how to do things, I take the dog’s training to the next level and add a training collar to make sure it’s reliable around different people, other animals, in new locations etc. The training collar is the final tool added to ensure the dog’s training is reliable (and to make sure I don’t have to bribe the dog for good behavior using treats). Wearing a little bit of makeup isn’t a bad thing just like putting a training collar on your dog doesn’t mean the dog isn’t trained. The problem is if the dog’s obedience relies on whether or not the dog has the collar on. A training collar should be used after the dog has had solid foundation training.
There are no shortcuts in training. Take the time to do it right, and the payoff will be ten-fold.
July 01, 2018