Why would you do that? Forcibly pin puppies down into submission that is? Thanks to Twitter pal Rod Burket of GO PET FRIENDLY for providing me with a title, commenting on one of my "tweets." Getting back to my question, professionals in the field of dog training lamentably continue to recommend the use of forceful outdated and dangerous methods, that can and do increase reactivity in dogs. In the last week, I have regrettably fielded inquiries from concerned dog owners, whose own puppies were progressively deteriorating with behaviors. The commonality? Professionals had recommended the puppies be pinned down for perceived transgressions. The shame? Major professional organizations decry these methods with public statements, such as the AVSAB Dominance Position Statement. Download Dominance statement Read on, and if nothing else, question the advice to use forceful methods on your own dog.
Here is what your puppy can learn by being forcibly pinned down:
- humans are scary and unpredictable
- their world is not safe
- approaching hands are not predictable and safe
- the best offense can be good defense
- a negative association to what is in the environment, at the time of the punishment.
- not to trust you
- to react with increasing aggression
Consider being pinned down from a puppy point of view, an horrific restraint from which there is no escape, with the option of flight in the face of danger abruptly removed. Even worse, does your puppy understand the association of their undesired behavior to the punishment? No. As the puppy grows, does it require an increasing amount of force to pin him down? Well yes, of course. Which brings me to a salient point from the PAT MILLER handout:The Pitfalls of Positive Punishment. From a Level 1 Internship, this statement resonates with the blog subject. "Violence begets violence." Plain and simple.
Certain dogs stand out in my mind: the handsome adolescent lab returned to rescue, the spitz mix that became human aggressive, and the pit mix that became increasingly dog-aggressive. Well meaning owners were following professional advice to pin down their dogs and dogs were responding with increased aggression. Before following the outdated advice to pin down your own puppy ponder the following points.
- Is this in any way teaching your puppy the desired behavior?
- Could this damage your relationship with your puppy?
- Do you want your puppy to trust, not fear you?
- Do you wish to deal with the consequences of an adolescent dog and deteriorating behaviors?
- Do you wish to have a well adjusted family pet for the long term?
I really hope that the people who called recently get back to me, so we can begin the process of getting their puppies on the path to recovery, instead of down the road to being re-homed, or worse.I urge you, if anything in this article raises a red flag, contact a certified positive professional trainer, with a strong background in behavior. Why would you do that? Pin your puppy down into submission?
Leslie Fisher PMCT, CPDT-KA