Others claimed that anthropomorphism could be the result of a perceptual system designed to find order in a complex world Horowitz, In addition, some emphasized that behaviorism is as limited as a foundation for understanding animal behavior as the sentimental anthropomorphism it replaced Sanders, Attention should therefore be drawn to such subjective phenomena as planning, consciousness, purpose, will, and fear.
A similar point of view is shared by many sociologists, who in turn empha- size the importance of acknowledging the everyday experience of people who live with dogs e. People in contemporary Western societies see their dogs as nonjudgmental, accepting, sincere and innocent Serpell, , p. It is difficult, however, to discard their social significance: people share social rituals with dogs, celebrate their birthdays, buy Christmas gifts for them, and grieve their deaths.
The complexity of human relationships with dogs is evident and cannot be attributed to sentimental anthropomorphism only, and neither can it be discredited by mediocre awareness in Western societies regarding dog training, its purposes and benefits. The second decade of the 21st century, however, marked the beginning of ideological changes in the field of dog training.
Such changes revolved around new expectations regarding train- ing, and its short-term and long-term purposes and goals. The research that led to tracking these changes took place between March and December ; it was based on grounded theory practice. The process of data collection is inductive i. Such important issues in a given field of social activity emerge from writings and audio- visual recordings, as well as stories shared by members of the area of interest that is being studied by the researcher.
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Researcher and subjects frame that interaction and confer meaning upon it. The viewer then is part of what is viewed rather than separate from it. Works of the three most articulate and progressive trainers—Kathy Sdao, Grisha Stewart, and Emily Larlham—were chosen for in-depth analysis in late The subsequent aims of the research were to describe the ongoing change in its social context, to present the key ideas behind the new approach to training, as well as to describe its characteristics, such as the emphasis on self-development opportunities for humans.
Towards a Harmonious Relationship between Humans and Dogs Although the aforementioned trainers share similar points of view on numer- ous issues regarding desirable human-dog relationships, it should be noted that as of July , there is no form of official movement or association— highly cohesive cooperation centered on the issues discussed below has yet to happen. Emily later started a website www. In her first book, Plenty in Life is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace , Sdao shares her doubts about the excessive control pres- ent in contemporary positive dog training.
According to Sdao , up-to-date training should involve a dog guardian in communicating with his or her companion, rather than simply focusing on assuming control p. As she puts it, at the end of the day, there is a considerable price to pay for dismissing and turning away the dog, as well as being emotionally or physically unreachable p.
Larlham empha- sizes that Progressive Reinforcement Training is humane and respectful, and it is based on the latest scientific evidence. Such an approach corresponds with academic findings regarding dog physiology and cognition, going beyond the notions, as well as the omissions, of behaviorism.
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Stewart claims that in order to reha- bilitate a reactive dog i. In order to let the canine learn to make good choices, we must first be willing to focus on the reason s for the struggles, eventually understanding why the dog is reactive and helping him or her meet particular needs in other ways.
This may not sound overly difficult, but in reality it often is, and undoubt- edly it requires a significant amount of time and energy. The focus on animal agency is evident—with BAT, our job is to set dogs up for success, with the goal of having them practice good choices over and over again Stewart, a, p.
In other words, such a philosophy of dog training no longer revolves around people and their own preferences only; it is, as one could say, all about the dogs. Stewart often appeals to our empathy when explaining dog reactivity. Trying to demon- strate what urban dogs experience, the trainer urges: Imagine that your neighbors shouted obscenities at you whenever you went for a walk by their houses. How long would it be before you devel- oped some reactivity? Stewart, a, p. Such training exceeds the notions of chaining and shaping, and it facilitates a better understanding of the subtle- ties of canine body language, including social play and animal agency.
Sdao encourages readers to be very attentive to their dogs—something that is the opposite of the rationing attention proposed by NILIF. Sdao also emphasizes the need to focus on giving dogs a choice while training with them. Rather than focusing on the micromanagement of canine behavior via leash- popping, pulling, etc.
This allows people to become crafty choice architects, while dogs become more responsible for making their own behaviors happen Sdao, , p. It is worth noting that such a list also emphasizes the need to respect animal rights in dog training. According to the trainer, people too often forget—or do not realize—that dog training can be a reward for them as well Sdao, , p. Conclusion The main purpose of this article was to follow and describe the ongoing change in dog training, one that reflects a greater shift in the relationship that dogs share with humans.
In the second decade of the 21st century, the rela- tionship ceased to be unilateral—instead, in progressive reinforcement train- ing, it becomes a two-way bond of mutual benefit. The ideological change in dog training is characterized by outgrowing the limitations of otherwise useful behaviorism not to mention discarding and discrediting compulsion-based training. Kathy Sdao sees evolved dog training as that of exchanged reinforcers. In fact, such changes have already been reported to Grisha Stewart, another trainer described in the article, who in turn reported them in her book named Behavior Adjustment Training: BAT for Fear, Frustration, and Aggression in Dogs.
Emily Larlham, Stewart, and Sdao perceive humans as benevolent lead- ers and guides of their dogs—not their masters or owners. Being leaders and guides to our dogs is simply worthwhile. Kathy Sdao reminds us that: Besides being fully deserving of dignity in their own right, dogs can help us figure out how to get along with other beings, human and non- human. In his research conducted on individuals with dogs, dog trainers, as well as veterinarians, sociologist Clinton R. Sanders observed a repetitive switching between seeing dogs as person-like companions and as items of property p.
Although his ultimate finding was that for all three groups the view that typically won out was that of canines as persons rather than as property, it is clear that progressive, state-of-the-art, humane and force-free training could further strengthen the former conviction in society. Acknowledgements I would like to thank the editor and both anonymous reviewers for their com- ments on the manuscript; their advice helped significantly improve its struc- ture and clarity.
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Pets as family mambers. Sussman Ed. Charmaz, K. Grounded theory: Objectivist and constructivist methods. Lincoln Eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Coppinger, R. A new understanding of canine origin, behavior, and evolution.
Primates and philosophers: How morality evolved. Derr, M. How the dog became the dog. From wolves to our best friends. Donaldson, J. The culture clash. Berkeley, CA: James and Kenneth. Driscoll, M.
Psychology of learning for instruction. Eaton, B. Dominance: Fact or fiction. Wenatchee, WA: Dogwise Publishing. Fennell, J. View Product. When you have a problem with your dog, you need answers fast. That's why That's why Dog Training Tips is an essential book for any dog owner. A finalist in the annual Dog Writers Association of America's writing competition, this book is A finalist in the annual Dog Writers Association of America's writing competition, this book is a valuable resource for anyone living or working with a fearful dog.
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