You may hear different trainers arguing what methods are best, and most pet owners are good people that want to do right by their dog. However most pet owners also have busy lives with work and family and social obligations. The vast majority of pet dog people don’t spend much time researching dog training methods and all of the different studies and real life applications of different dog training methods. Many times dog trainers use terms that pet dog owners have never heard before. To the dog trainer these terms are common knowledge, and they don’t even think about attempting to explain it because everyone knows what it means right? WRONG!
I am extremely guilty of this myself. I remember the first group class I ever taught. I instructed the class to make an about turn and everyone looked at me in total confusion. That was my first experience in realizing I should explain terms before I start using them and just expecting clients to know what I am talking about.
In the dog training world there are many different types of training. We are balanced trainers. Within the group of trainers who label themselves as balanced trainers there are many extremes. Many people who see our training methods and styles would label us as positive trainers, but we are far from being purely positive.
As far as we are concerned balanced training means utilizing whatever methods, tools, and techniques possible to help the dog in the best way possible. We do not try and make any dog fit into one particular method. With balanced training we do whatever works best for that dog. Some dogs are not food motivated, some dogs are terrified of even having a leash put on, some dogs pull so hard they choke themselves to the point of causing extreme damage to their trachea. My point here is that every single dog is different. While dogs generally learn behaviors in a similar manner what techniques work best for that dog can be drastically different. In the same way as you are not going to fix a severely dog aggressive dog with a clicker and a cookie you will not help a frightened dog overcome its anxiety with a lot of corrections. There needs to be balance and that is why I call us balanced trainers. Yes we are for the most part positive reinforcement trainers, but when a dog needs something different we aren’t afraid to utilize what exactly that dog needs at that time.
I guess my whole point here is not to undermine any training methods but to explain that balanced training as we utilize it means doing whatever the dog needs. We do not try and force every dog into a specific mold. We adapt and change and do what is best for each dog as individuals.