Friday, April 17, 2009

Training Rant - Volume Control

How many people have heard a dog's handler yelling at the dog with increasing volume? I don't know how many times I've been out with my dogs and see a handler trying to get their dog to "Sit" without success. When the dog doesn't listen the first time, they start making their voice louder and louder.

One of the many things that bothers me about dog handlers is their misunderstanding of volume. I know what you're thinking ... there are many ... many things that bother me but this is one of those things that just makes me cringe.

Have you ever heard the saying "I will talk very slowly because you can't read very fast"? I know it's not exactly right for the situation, but I can't help but think of that whenever I see someone raising their voice at their dog.

Maybe no one ever taught those people the difference between "talking to" and "talking at"? I don't know.

If your dog isn't doing what you ask, that means he or she is ignoring you - not hard of hearing! It also doesn't mean your dog is dumb ... maybe he's smarter than you think? (Or maybe he's simply smarter than you?)

Maybe they should ask themselves "why am I being ignored?" Instead of simply getting mad and showing the people around them (as well as the dog) how completely incompetent and insecure they are.

All I want to do is go up to those people and give them a congratulatory hand-shake for being the biggest asshat I saw that day.

What are some of the circumstances that you have witnessed this sort of 'behaviour'?


Skitto and Peanut said...

Thank you for adding us to your site. Our mama likes your blog.

bob novotney said...

We must be on the same wave length or something? I just wrote two posts on similar issues. Sometimes I wonder what folks are thinking when dealing with there pets. But anyway, thought you might want to check out the thread. Most of the time the problems that are associated with the pet is actually the handlers fault.
Good article...

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Skitto and Peanut - glad to have you reading and commenting!

bob - great minds think alike? Glad you decided to keep blogging. I was sorry to read your post from saturday. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts!

Patty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patty said...

Great blog post: I've found that most people do not understand dogs at all. They treat them as furry four-legged humans never bothering to do the research..dogs are a whole different species with their own 'language'...This is a fine comment coming from a person who says: 'Please & thank you' to her dogs...LOL. P.S. I added a link for the video that would not load.

Splash said...

I am starting to read/watch some sheepdog training material. It strikes me that although retriever trainer folks have (at least in my area) embraced positive training, sheepdog folks have pretty much kept their training method(s) the same.

I am not sure if this is bad or good, but I find it interesting.

Or, I could be wrong, maybe I haven't just found the right book yet. I have a video by Derek Scrimgeour -- in his book he mentions giving positive feedback as well as negative. That's good, right? :)

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

It doesn't pay to yell loud at the 2 Red's their deaf!!!
On the other hand I am always the one that hears about them getting into trouble..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

GoLightly said...

It's all in the tone, not the volume.


Although Flip IS deaf, sometimes.
Very conveniently, even.
Flip Found a snake/chipmunk/mole hole?
Flip can't HEAR you:)
She's so funny..

Flo said...

To add to what's already been said, I agree with Patty, most people don't understand dogs at all. When I was training my Nala (the best dog in the world) she taught me that when she wasn't paying attention nothing I did would get it. I learned to just stand there not saying a word and that would get her attention :) And as GoLightly said, it's all in the tone. I learned to get more across with one word in the right tone then all the words in the world in the wrong tone.

Now having birds, I hate when I hear people yell at their birds to quiet down. Hello!!! The bird is screaming. You're screaming. No one is hearing anyone.


Yep- I've seen it happen in many places. Sometimes no words is the best communication. I listen more to my mom's body language.

Thanks for the tag.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Patty - couldn't have said it better myself! I'll go and check out that video then. PS - don't feel weird, I often use please and thank you with my guys. I have found that if I use them, than the kids that come visit us learn something too (win-win for me).

Splash - do you mean herding training? That would be interesting to see. I think negative feedback is important to teach too - otherwise, how would you teach your dog not to get up on the counter? You use "No" and that is a negative. As much as I plug and push positive training methods, I do believe you need to use some negatives to let the dogs know that certain behaviours are unacceptable. Maybe I should blog about that? Hmm ... now you've got my brain working! I think you will find mixed feelings about training methods regardless of which direction you look.

Gus, Louie and Callie - that's true - good point. I find yelling just teaches your dog to ignore you.

GoLightly and Flo - yep, I'll agree to that! Tone is important - more important in fact than volume. I have birds and the louder you yell, the louder they scream. Now, whisper to them while they are screaming and the only way they can hear you is if they stop making noise ...

Norwood - Good point with body language! And one that so many people forget. Body language is a universal one that most species can understand. It is so important, yet gets forgotten so often.