‘Ask the Dog Guy’ is actually me, John Wade. I have been helping dog owners help their dogs with a wide range of problems for over 20 years. Every breed, every problem that you can think of; puppy basics, anxiety, aggression, house training, and more. As you’ll read below I have a very realistic outlook when it comes to dogs and dog owners.
I’ve written several ebooks for dog owners and dog professionals alike. The best seller is a practical guide for dog owners: “The Beautiful Balance – Dog Training with Nature’s Template”
I also get to travel quite a bit to teach at conferences for dog trainers, the veterinary profession and other similar venues. I train municipal law enforcement officers about safety around dogs on the job and helped put a similar program in place for letter carriers across the country.
Quite a few years ago I began writing a practical pet column advice for the local newspaper since then it was picked up for syndication and is now in newspapers with a combined circulation of 6 million.
One thing that I’ve done that I’m pretty happy about is turning an idea I had many years ago into a reality and that’s an elegantly simple dog-friendly, dog training collar (Power Steering for Your Dog) that makes it way easier for dog owners to keep their arms in their sockets while training their dogs. It stays in place up high, under the jaw and behind the ears where a collar has the most affect. There’s no fiddling. and really works.
To really succeed in this line of work you of course have to understand and like dogs but that’s not enough. You also have to love dog owners and understand what their lives are really like, which brings me to my philosophy.
Sometimes dog trainers are prone to forgetting that the average dog owner’s life does not revolve around their dog in the same way it does for dog trainers. Priorities are different and like it or not there is only so much of the average dog owner left owner at the end of the day and while the dog is going to get some of that there’s stiff competition with activities with the kids, yard work, house keeping and maybe even a little “me” time.
Another area of “disconnect” is that in some parts of the dog training world dog trainers believe in “all positive – all the time” or “ignore all bad behavior and reward the good behavior”. While I think anyone would agree that this would be a wonderful way for the world to work, dogs would have to be the only species on the planet that do not require the concept of discipline in their lives. While we have significant differences, dogs, wolves, apes and human beings for that matter, all occasionally have their behavior shaped by their parents and it’s not always all positive. I think you’ll agree that every parent has hit that wall where all we have left is, “Because I said so.” It is part of nature’s template, and in truth in order to be humane; love and discipline must exist together.
Any extreme whether it is an “all-punishment” or an “all-positive” is going to have its consequences. The former at best might be an obedient dog but submissive and/or fearfully aggressive. The latter produces dogs unable to exert self-control in real world settings, impairing their ability to go places and do things that their owners would like to include them in. There must be ‘balance’.
A balanced dog trainer does not confuse discipline with abuse and uses encouragement far more frequently then discipline. That one word – ‘balance’ is the key to equipping a dog with the skills required for them to lead the best life possible.
Truly humane training is balanced training and what ‘Ask the Dog Guy’ strives to provide.