Dog Training ~ Art & Science

Thursday, February 01, 2018 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

Written by Bob Self

Art & Science

At times you hear some dog trainers snub those who train with physical leash corrections.  They will describe these traditional techniques as cruel,  inhumane ways to treat an animal.  They will retort that they are an old school methodology which has long since been replaced by better techniques.  I don't personally feel that techniques are cruel or ineffective just because they've been around for years.  Dog training to date has been more of an art form than a science.  While we may use scientific procedures in our training, it would be near impossible to control for all of the possible variables that can occur in the real world.  What should be most important to trainers is to recognize that they are on a path toward developing their own ideology of dog training.  A person's belief system, physical attributes, and individual goals are what makes training artists and not two training artists are ever the same.  What's more... no two training artists are ever wrong... for them!  Sometimes we get so entrenched in our own beliefs that we find it difficult to observe this fact.

Verbal & Nonverbal (or Reading & Watching)

In discussing traditional leash corrections the term "jerk" is often used.  There is no question, especially in today's politically correct world, that language from the past often takes on meanings in the contemporary.  All in all, the use of words to describe nonverbal actions is a poor exercise.  Anyone who's ever tried to read the obedience regulations can attest to that!  Ya gotta see it to understand it... and... then just maybe believe in it.

Some of you may know that I refurbished my father's home after he passed.  So many people kept asking me how I knew what to do that I began to think everyone thought I must be inept.  Actually dad was quite a carpenter and he not only taught me how to build, but how to figure out the answers I didn't know.  As I proceeded through the project I began to realize that there was quite a bit I still needed to learn.  Often times I found myself looking up YouTube videos to give me guidance.  Even though it wasn't always the fastest method of discovery it seemed to offer the most efficient advice.  Of course the most labor-saving method doesn't always provide the best advice, but that's really no different than the written word.  Quality's a judgment made from individual opinion.   We're talking about the physical actions of communication.

Yes, seeing it helps...  Life seems to have gotten a lot more visual the past few years.  At least as we communicate.  We like pictures but seem to love video.  Guess that's why YouTube's so popular.  Heck, all the cool media nowadays incorporates video.  It's hard now to imaging life without it.  And... were not stopping there!  The next big thing on the horizon is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.  It's no longer good enough to see things in real life.  We need to supplement them!

Most people I’ve spoken with consider Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as the same thing, but it's not that easy.  Virtual Reality takes place in an thoroughly artificial (or simulated) world.  Augmented Reality is a blend of the real and the virtual.  As we speak now, doctors, pilots, and dozens of higher profile professions are using it to foster their skills.  But the technology is improving at a rapid pace and it won't be long before we'll be participating in AR Dog Training instruction, and some of us won't even need the dog.

Think I'm kidding? The Muncie Animal Care Shelter in Indiana became involved with the hype of the Pokemon Go app.  They allowed Pokemon Go players to walk dogs while they played the game.  At the end of the campaign they had adopted six dogs. 

This following examples aren't about dog training but they can show you what's on the horizon for future dog trainers.  The first video clip is a more practical application in using VR to show how furniture will look in your house before you buy it.  The second one is just a fun clip about animals in the mall.

Ikea VR App


A Zoo in the Mall


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