Today, there is a significant and ongoing debate on the best way to train a dog. I want to add a new perspective to that discussion.

Think about your attitude. Are you a positive person or a negative person? It makes a difference.

Someone with a good attitude sees the world differently than someone who does not. We may be genetically programmed one way or the other; however, we still control our actions. We can significantly influence our attitudes. Changing one’s attitude for the better can improve the human/animal bond and, therefore, one’s effectiveness as a trainer.

Everyone has had the experience of approaching someone who appears angry and annoyed. That person’s body language almost screams, “No Trespassing, Stay Away!” While one may not be able to change one’s demeanor, one can change one’s approach to others. Focus less on oneself and more on others. It is not all about you, contrary to popular opinion. Let’s all work to bring back something forgotten and no longer fashionable. Motors have grease and oil to cushion their parts and run better. Social interactions have rules that make those interactions with another easier and more pleasant. It is called manners. If you want to receive better treatment, try respecting others. That is good advice generally and especially important when working with a dog.

You don’t want to give off the “vibes” of a negative person. Doing so tells the world that you feel threatened, hunted, in immediate danger of attack, or like a victim, real or imagined. It is like putting a sign on your chest asking to be abused or mistreated. It is that simple.

Approaching others with a smile on your face and good manners will take you far in life. A bad attitude also may cause you to accept the alpha dog theory of dog training. You believe you must stay on guard, ready to punish your dog for any possible infraction of your rules or imagined position of superiority.

Having used both types of training, positive and punishment, let me assure you that the position of power is positive. It is also more humane than the alternative.

Happy Training!

Donna Malone
Behavior Consultant and Trainer
(901) 488-9238