Using only one “recipe” in animal training

We can get stuck in only doing things one way, or certain way. And than we believe that is the only way, or THE only correct way to approach things or view things. It is happening in the world of “modern” animal training and it has made us turn against each other, made us exclude ourselves from investigating anything new or different.

I am talking about trainers and behaviourists who dance on the “Positive Reinforcement” side of the street. So even the name or label is debatable – is it Positive training, Force Free Training, Modern training…Than we debate what is positive, what is force free, is it really modern? 
Than we judge everything – definitions, philosophies, tools, each other…


Than we put others in certain “boxes” based on some information that we gained but have never truly explored or even tried ourselves. And we put as much distance between our box and other boxes to make sure that our way of dong things, our belief system does not get affected (infected).
Why? Maybe we fear of change, lf learning new things, envy that we did not think of that….probably for each a something different. 

Debating if done in constructive way is welcomed, but debating just for the sake of debating and to be contrary – that leads nowhere.

Yes, we have that right, to be like that. However, it prevents us from growing. Prevents us from learning. 
Example, if I am making cake/pie and am only using apples most probably it will turn out great and I might even make different versions of it, all lovely!
But if I am only interested in apples and only use apples, than I will miss out on all other flavors that exist out there. All those combinations, lots of them already used but for sure some still not discovered.
That will prevent my brain from making new connections, and I will get stuck in my “box”, no matter how lovely it is. No matter how great that recipe is. And yes lots of people will find it great for them (flavor of our cake/pie), but it might not work out for so many other people who could have enjoyed it if I have only tweaked it a bit (or a lot).

What I am trying to say is that there are so many ways to reach a goal or to do something. For example creating a training plan, doing a set up, influencing certain behaviour, teaching animal something, working on relationship issue, etc…
Animals WILL tell us if we are doing a good job (have written about it in previous Blog – Ask Your Dog). That means that our recipe IS good, but more we know about ingredients and combinations we might get even better results, even better flavor.

We owe it to the animals, and us – we should fill our “box” with as many recipes as possible so that we have a possibility to choose. We DO NOT HAVE TO USE ALL THE RECEPIES and we might end up using at the end only few of them. But I am pretty sure that they would be at least little bit different from our original ones….

So because of that I am trying to learn from as many people (and organizations) as possible. From those who are more knowledgable than me, have more experience or have been using something I am still not familiar with. I might not use all that I have learned, some things I might find unnecessary or it might not make any sense to me – but I WILL RESPECT it, acknowledge it, and will not toss it. There might come a day I might change my mind…


Other Blogs in English language

* Please excuse my English, it is not my primary language. 

Jelena Kallay – Vagabond Positive Animal Communication
Dip. Animal Behavior Technology, Dip. ABT – CASI
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional Program, KPA – CTP hr