Whilst the practice of positive only training is allowed to influence dog owners through deception, the reliance on practices such as administering psychotropic mind altering drugs to dogs to mask behaviors will become an epidemic, if it hasn't already.
Its a known fact, that you cannot replace an unacceptable behaviour by ONLY introducing an alternative behaviour. By utilizing such methods, all we are doing is adding a new behaviour to a dogs already repertoire of current behaviours, and not removing any. To replace something with something else, we need to remove the 'something' we are wanting replaced. Unless we work on removing an unwanted behaviour, by conditioning the dog to avoid the unwanted behaviour, that unwanted behavior always remains a strong possibility of surfacing under circumstances whereby the dog feels it will create a positive outcome. The only way to ensure an unwanted behaviour is not expressed again is to condition the dog that the unwanted behaviour never has a positive outcome and should be avoided. Avoidance can only be conditioned if there is a negative consequence. We should always incorporate positive reinforcement to teach/train dogs what to do, however we should not fear conditioning the dog that an unwanted behaviour always has an unpleasant consequence attached to it.
This 'balanced' approach is teaching the dog to make clear and conciese choices, and not leaving the dog in limbo, trying to work out for itself the best way to deal with a given situation, or to react impulsively. We simplify the dogs ability to make correct choices, and therefore also lowering stress levels. Whist we continue to believe that all we need to do is condition new behaviours without correcting or conditioning the dog to avoid unwanted behaviors, more and more dogs will be forced to take these mind altering psychotropic medications, to mask behaviours we have no way to stop by positive reinforcement.
It is my professional opinion, as a person that has worked with dogs professionally for over 36 years, and therefore has a firm grasp on dog behaviours, drives and instincts, that the average dog owner over the past 16 or so years, since the advent of positive-only and force-free training methodology, has been conned in a lot of cases. Since the advent of these training methodologies over the past 16 or so years, there has been a dramatic increase in not only dog related dog bites and attacks on humans, but the incidence of extreme cases of anxiety related behaviours has also sky rocketed. Most Veterinary Dog Behaviourists are now classifying anxiety and obsessive compulsive behaviours, as diseases of the brain that need to be medicated. Big Pharma has a lot to do with this new age look at dealing with dog behavioural problems. After all the pet industry is a multibillion dollar industry, that big pharma obviously wants a big slice of. Vet Behaviourists are virtually brainwashed by these pharmacutical companies, that the 'quick fix' is the only way to go. Not to forget that these Vet Behaviourists make good money from dog owners that come in to their practise to collect their dog prescription each month.
Vet Behaviourists now believe that prescribing mind altering drugs, is the saviour of our dogs. However it is firmly my opinion that indeed the positive-only training ideology is having the opposite effect in a lot of cases, in that in many cases it is causing more dogs to be suffering from anxiety and therefore having anxiety related coping behaviours, or for dogs with these issues, unable to help them or their owners. Then Vet Behaviourists, that also tend to focus on the positive-only agenda are left with no other course of action other than to drug our dogs, as that is what big pharama tells them to do, and is their only course of action. Before there was such a thing as positive-only training and therefore Vet Behaviourists forcing psychotropic medication on to dogs, we relied on ensuring that we had a balanced approach to training and raising our dogs. We set clear boundaries. We weren't afraid of correcting inappropriate or unwanted behaviours. We therefore tended to have more well rounded and balanced dogs. Behaviours such as anxiety and obsessive compulsive behaviours have been re-diagnosed as diseases of the brain, and that the only option is mind altering medication. There is no doubt that Vet Behaviourists, and more importantly, big pharma, are making a lot of money due to this so-called new age dog training ideology.
The other issue we need to be aware of when administering these psychotropic drugs, is that unlike humans, dogs can't tell us how these drugs are affecting them. In humans drug dosages and types can be adjusted due to how the patient feels, as the patient can communicate these feelings with their Dr. This practise is forcing dogs to live in a state that is not natural for them, and possibly affecting them in cruel and inhumane ways at a deeper level, physically and physiologically. Can you imagine if we made humans accept drugs that were affecting them negatively at a deeper level, and not allowing them to discuss this with their Dr, so as to have the medication adjusted or dicontinued due to unacceptable side effects? No Vet understands the deeper affects these drugs have on our dogs.. And therefore in my opinion it is an inhumane practice to force this type of medication on to dogs, when there are other more humane and safer ways to deal with issues such as anxiety, aggression and obsessive compulsive behaviours. Behaviour creates chemical changes in the brain. Work through the behaviour, and we affect the chemical changes in the brain.... No need for this inhumane practise in over 999.99% of cases!!
I implore you, before considering these mind and chemical altering psychotropic drugs, first consider a more balanced approach to your dogs rehabilitation, by seeking the services of balanced trainers and behaviour specialists, that do specialise in these behaviours, that are not forcing dogs on to these drugs. In most cases they are not required.
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