Dog Training Studies Suiting own Agenda
Up until maybe 10 years ago, I read a lot of studies, all I could find really on dog training and behaviour.
I would sift through the huge number of pages and references included often to find that the method of testing, the environment used, the application of the reinforcement etc was not really accurate to what dogs and people who handle dogs in the real world would experience.
You don’t have to change too many things to prove or disprove something really.
In the last year to two, it seems any time anyone wants to take a shot at the balanced training approach, they do it not with their own experience, results, or success, but instead by dropping a link to a study someone else has done.
They refer to this as “science” with the mantra that it must be correct and overrules all other information.
• The problem is that most of the studies are flawed, limited or irrelevant and conducted in a manner to prove the persons previous point of view.
• Manipulating data or the people who read the data is not science, it is manipulation.
• Choosing studies and references that support your ideology or theory and ignoring those that don’t is not science either. Its cognitive bias.
• Making up stories or embellishing stories you have heard to prove your science is not science, it is lying.
Here’s how it goes a lot of the time.
Balanced trainer says or shows something
Force Free Evangelist comments that balanced training is outdated, cruel, abusive, evil and other emotional tags.
Balanced Trainer shows results in reply and Evangelist links trainer to a study.
1. The Evangelist has no training experience or results to show, just ask for them and you will see.
2. If you go look at the study, you will find probably 20 pages plus references. Who is going to thoroughly go through 20 pages just to reply to a person on Facebook?
3. People reading who have dogs that need help won’t read the study, what they will take away is that there is a study that says corrections are bad.
4. The trick is that the dog owner has been diverted away from the fact that training needs to be effective, and that the Evangelist has no experience or ability whatsoever.
What has unfortunately or fortunately started happing is, Balanced Trainers are now starting to go back to these studies they are being linked to and pull them apart for the inaccuracy that they represent.
We have not done it until now because we: –
• Don’t need to read these studies to train dogs, we can train dogs!
• We are not losing clients lives aside due to lack of results, our clients are referring other to us.
• We are busy doing it rather than reading about it.
But the constant barrage of “read this study” has caused many of us to read the study and highlight its lack of value and inaccuracies.
They have shoved studies in our face, that will in time prove to be a mistake.
The primary goal of working with a dog is to change its behaviour so as the dog and owner can live harmoniously.
Those that can’t, link to studies.