I am a CPDT and I think the article [“Who Should You Trust to Train Your Dog?” April 6] was very well written. One thing I wanted to point out in regards to the two books you mentioned: Most and Koehler. There is one huge qualitative difference between the two that drives their content and their message. Most comes from a place of complete respect for the dog; Koehler comes from a place of almost contempt for any dog that doesn’t get it or do the right thing. Without any formal training in ethology or learning theory (which was just being developed at the time), Most understood how dogs think, and he cared very much about sending messages that could be understood. He cared about building a working team. He also noted that not all dogs are suited to that type of training. Koehler’s methods are simply to start tough and get tougher when the dog doesn’t perform. It is all about a military-like dominance obtained from a mindless (broken) follower. Also, eventually Koehler used these techniques on all dogs, pet dogs, not just military working dogs (not to mention that Most was training military personnel and Koehler, eventually, was teaching average joe pet owner, and we all know what they can be like!).
Marilyn Marks, CPDT
The Good Dog Spot!