OUT NOW! Guide & Control Your Pet Dog’s Behaviour.
The concept of resource control has been around for years, but over those years it seems to have been corrupted. In some cases it became an attempt to control dogs through denying them access to the things they want and need; about “pack leadership” and “status” – which it never should have been.
The idea became so tainted that not long ago questions were asked on the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors’ forum as to why we professional behaviourists were using it (the answer is that we use it because we know how to). As a response Mat Ward (with a smidgen of help from me) wrote a terrific article, “Learn to Earn: Is Nothing in Life Free?” Its subtitle “An evaluation of the use of resource control programmes in modifying dog behaviour.” kind of gives away the type of article it is: it is a scholarly appreciation of how resource control should be applied, written for qualified behaviourists. Which is great if you are a scholar. But most pet owners aren’t.
And that’s where it falls down. Behaviourists (if they are any good) understand it and how to implement it, but pet owners don’t. And, boy, are they missing out, because when it comes to living with your pet, guiding and controlling is the knees-of-the-bee.
The 2014 book The Social Dog, Behaviour and Cognition edited by Julia Kaminski and Sarah Marshall-Pescini is the latest academic tome to describe and dissect the most recent research into dog behaviour (read it if you are a total dog anorak, or if you are having trouble sleeping). There are many descriptions of how dogs associate with each other and how they learn, including:
- when feral (wild-living) dogs band together young dogs learn from, defer to and are guided by older dogs;
- dogs are attuned to and pay more attention to people than they do to other dogs (mostly);
- and dogs learn best when people show them what to do.
That’s the “family” model. Dogs are family – and we should be treating them as such.
Properly done, resource control guides your dog into the correct behaviour before they have the chance to get it wrong. It isn’t about depriving dogs, taking things away when they’ve been disobedient, or timing them out on the naughty-step, it’s about giving them guidance so that they can have access to things they want; about providing, not denying; giving, not taking. Guide & Control your dog and soon he will start to exert self-control, which is the only kind of control worth having. Good manners and calm behaviour become the default.
So, that’s why I’ve written Guide & Control for owners. To allow everyone to understand and benefit from what we behaviourists have known for years. It isn’t for you professional dog trainers (because if you are any good you are doing it already), it is for your clients. It can be used to underpin a behaviour modification programme, but it’s not just for those who have are having difficulty controlling their dogs. It is for everyone who is thinking of buying a puppy or adopting a rescue dog; for everyone whose dog isn’t quite as well-behaved as they would like; for everyone who would like a better relationship with their pet; for everyone who wants a fun dog that is a pleasure to own.
Including a training guide, Finlay, and pictures, and costing only a crisp £5 note (less for the e-book), it is available through all major on-line retailers and bookshops. Discounts can be arranged through me for bulk purchases if you would like to pass them on to your clients.
Guide & Control Your Pet Dog’s Behaviour. At the risk of flying in the face of received dog-training philosophy, do try this at home.