As you probably already know, the Amish people attempt to stay away from the world’s progression of technology. They rarely use electricity, they choose not to drive motor vehicles, and they are self-sufficient farmers who use horse drawn equipment instead of tractors. The Amish stick together in a secluded, religious community and don’t partake in societal conventions like wearing make-up, drinking alcohol, or watching the super bowl.
So, what can we possibly learn from the Amish about the training of dogs in today’s fast-paced technological world?
Well, a lot more than you would think. Throughout the history of the Amish, they have treated dogs not as pets but as useful contributors to self-sustainability. Rather than cuddling with their dog next to the fire place during a snowstorm (which is one of the greatest perks of having a dog I may add), they use dogs to herd livestock, hunt for food, and protect their homes from possible intruders. To the Amish, dogs are seen as useful tools that make farming and living a rural lifestyle less of a burden.
The next question is, well, how are they able to domesticate these dogs without going to a pet store and buying equipment like an electronic collar? And, how do they do so without “new techniques” from dog trainers and puppy schools? The answer lies in their timeless use of appealing to the dog’s natural instincts.
If you appeal to the dog’s natural instincts and understand what those are in a given situation, you are able to reward the dog positively. That is, you reward the dog for being themselves and ‘feeling like a dog’. The Amish choose to have the dog spend most, if not all, of its time outdoors in nature, which very often guides the dog to self-sufficiency. They offer their dogs’ water, food when they need it, and shelter during cold or harsh storms, but the dog does not depend on these for sustenance. It keeps them nearby and within the grounds, but they are not pampered and forced to lose what it means to be a creative and thriving dog.
Of course certain dogs will tend to be more aggressive and they will need to be deterred from this behavior, but these are rare exceptions. Most often dogs appreciate both being cared for and having the freedom to be themselves in nature.
It seems today that many dog trainers have disregarded and veered away from this fundamental view in the training of dogs. Understanding a dog’s natural tendencies are just as important as teaching them common commands, and utilizing this knowledge during training will only promote enthusiasm and well-being in your dog. The Amish understand it, and we should too.
If you’re looking for a dog trainer that encourages the inner dog in your pup, Lara’s Canine Solutions of New Braunsfels, Texas is one of them. They’re wide open spaces and countryside environment will inspire your pup. Even if you’re not close to Lara’s Canine Solutions that’s ok. There’s plenty of great information on their website to learn about picking the right dog trainer in your local area at http://larascaninesolutions.com/.