Hopefully you have already seen the 5Star Programme, ‘Cats and Dogs at War’ with Chirag Patel and Nanci Creedon. It was wonderful to watch a pet training programme that shows a realistic approach to behaviour modification and training rather than supposed instant fixes. The show was calm, relaxed and did not put any animals in stressful situations just for the purposes of filming for tv. During the consultations, home videos were used ensuring that the pets were in the best frame of mind for training but allowing the behaviourists to understand the situation.
Safety was the primary focus, the pets were kept safe with environmental barriers, fake animals and leads and harnesses were used where appropriate. All the animals were vet checked to ensure there were no underlying health issues that could impact their behaviour.
The focus was on improving the pet’s relationships and confidence. The training was broken into small manageable parts that could be linked together as the training progressed. The pet guardians were empowered to do the training and given realistic small goals over several weeks. The progress was monitored, the focus was on long term improvement and the plan was updated based on the pets’ progress. Fake training situations were set up so that everyone could practice the training and help the pets learn to make positive associations with the scenarios.
There were no aversives such as shouting “No!” or lead checks used during the show because behaviourists had the skills and knowledge to use more effective methods. They gave the pets opportunities to make good choices and always gave them an exit.
I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the episodes.
To watch the show on catch up see: Cats and Dogs at War – Channel 5