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1 4th June 08:56
External User
Posts: 1
Default Walter Turken Training Program

Hey everybody,

I'm looking for some feedback or insight. The animal shelter where I
volunteer has decided to implement the Walter Turken Training Program
as facilitated by Brian Kilcommons.

I the past few years, our shelter has developed our own training
program – both for shelter dogs and to train the public. This program
is based on positive reinforcement ONLY – like Ian Dunbar preaches –
no choke or pinch collars, you get the picture.

I've since found out (from Mr. Kilcommon's books) that he DOES
advocate choke and pinch collars, as well as "forcing" the dog as
opposed to letting the dog problem solve and rewarding the correct

So – what do y'all think? Have any of you had any experience with this
program? And what's a volunteer to do?

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2 4th June 08:57
External User
Posts: 1
Default Walter Turken Training Program

I would start with deciding what criteria I would use to grade my success
in a training program. What is the goal of the training program? How
can you measure the results to tell how closely you are meeting that
goal. For example, you might set goals as to percent of dogs that can
pass the CGC after x-weeks. If you offer various levels of classes you
might look at how many people return to take the next level of classes.
If returns had been a problem at the shelter you might look to see if
there is a measureable reduction. Only after you know what it is you are
trying to accomplish will you be able to compare what you are doing with
the other programs.

While no choke or pinch collars and no force is a perfectly fine goal, it
may not be doing the dogs any favors if the way its implemented leaves
the dogs with behavior problems. Many behavior problems can be corrected
by providing alternate wanted behavior. But the worst of the problems
often have to be met with a different approach that lets the dog know
what is NOT wanted as well as what is wanted. Sometimes our
responsiblity to the dog fails if we have not been able to convey that
information to the dog. And while no caring sane person *wants* to make
the dog feel bad it is often a life saver for the dog to learn what
cannot be tolerated.

What I'm saying is that the most kindness to the dog is actually
accomplishing the goal of having a dog that is safe and fun to live with.
If your evaluation of the current program is that it is effective in
doing so, wonderful, stick with it. If your evaluation of the current
program is that it falls short of what you would like, then reconsider
and look at the results coming out of other methods. The mantras of
"choke collars" and "pinch collars" and "force" will not alone tell you
whether a training program is right for the interests to the dog. These
things are merely tools that can be useful or disaster. It is HOW they
are used and the ACTUAL effect on the dog and its longevity that matters.

Diane Blackman
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