A few months ago, we introduced you to FACE friend and supporter Linda Michaels of Del Mar Dog Training in a blog post. Linda is a top-rated dog trainer and behavior expert who created the Hierarchy of Dog Needs® approach to force-free behavior modification. Linda has expanded the ideas she outlined in the Hierarchy into a brand-new eBook called the Do No Harm™ Dog Training and Behavior Manual. The manual is a great resource for anyone interested in learning about force-free solutions for common dog behavior problems (pet parents, trainers, animal welfare workers and volunteers, groomers, and more). The book is available for purchase in pdf format HERE.
The manual covers both basic obedience and more advanced behavior issues like aggression and separation anxiety. Topics covered include advice on finding the right dog for your family and lifestyle, as well as step-by-step training how-tos for many key behavior areas, such as:
- Socialization to people and other dogs
- Dog safety and body language
- Good manners and impulse control
- New puppy training
- How to avoid “treat dependence”
- Teaching the basic commands
- Protocols for dealing with serious behavior problems
Linda has an MA in Experimental Psychology and has worked not only with dogs, but also wolves and wolfdog hybrids in need of treatment for aggression. The foundation of her approach is to avoid the use of harsh, dominance-based training methods and aversive collar devices (shock, prong, choke). Linda believes that these methods are often counter-productive and can in fact increase aggression in dogs.
The Hierarchy of Dog Needs® concept is based on the idea that dogs (just like people) have fundamental needs that should be met both in the training process and throughout their lives. Besides basic physical needs like food and shelter, dogs also need to feel safe, secure, and loved. Linda’s training methods take these important emotional needs into account, leading to optimal results.
As Linda notes, traditional dominance training methods and devices can inflict irreversible psychological damage on our dogs. “This manual was written for ‘the heartbeats at our feet’ with their well-being and best force-free care and training practices in mind,” says Linda. “We no longer leave the door open for any justification to use aversive/punitive methods of training with dogs.” The key to effective training is the proper use of force-free methods…now easier than ever thanks to Linda’s contributions to the field!