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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


Roll over, Cesar Millan.  Dominance is not the way to a positive dog/owner relationship, says trainer Dale Stavroff in Let The Dog Decide.

Celebrity dog trainer Millan’s leader-of-the-pack training philosophy treats “the dog’s natural behaviors as problems that have to be controlled with dominance, which is usually enforced with a painful choke chain or pinch collar,” Stavroff writes.  “This approach produces resentment and shuts down the dog’s mind.”

Stavroff, who trains dogs for competition as well as search-and-rescue work, offers his take on the positive-reinforcement type of training.  He explains how to use operant conditioning tools such as clickers, how to build “benevolent eye contact” with a dog and how to get the most benefit from “compassionate compulsion.”

“My training system accepts the dog’s independent will, insatiable curiosity, and strong instinctual drives, not as problems that training must eliminate or control, but as fortunate natural attributes that can aid effective learning.”

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