I am unreservedly committed not to use force, pain, fear or intimidation in my work with dogs and human beings. My training methods are as free of invasive techniques as I know how to make them. I’m always learning about animal behaviour, psychology and learning theory. If I find a less-aversive way of working, I will use it.
I agree with Emily Larlham that it’s important to focus on ways to make training as reliable and free of stress and frustration for dogs as possible. To me, that means being sure to “train the dog who shows up,” as Sue Ailsby says. In other words, like humans, individual dogs may have more or less confidence, be willing to try new things or anxious about making mistakes, be uncertain about how to communicate with other dogs, have difficulty working in some settings, act over-excited or unmotivated to work.
I think that when we have empathy and learn to see the world from the dog’s perspective, we can find ways to make learning exciting for dogs so that their lives are more rewarding and enjoyable for them and for their human companions.