What’s Wrong With A Quick Fix?

Why I Love A Quick Fix.

We hear criticism all the time of ‘the quick fix’. The term seems to inflame many people, who see it as a very bad thing. But I see nothing wrong with a quick fix where one is achievable, and neither do my clients. A quick fix is exactly what they want, and I don’t see any reason not to try to provide one. They are happy if I can help fix their issues (and those of their dogs while I’m at it), and even better if I can help fix them quickly. It seems to them and me like a good thing, though it is important that I make it clear that the likelihood is that the ‘fix’ has only addressed the symptom, and not the underlying problem.

A slow fix on the other hand may eventually work, but it may take much longer than an owner is prepared to give the dog to establish a change. So giving a slow fix method may ultimately result in the dog ending up in rescue – or worse, not because it would NEVER have worked, but because it takes so long for the owner to see any real progress, so they deem the dog untrainable and give up on him. I want to give the owner a method that I believe will work, but that will also show an improvement quickly enough that it inspires the owner to keep working at it.
So why do many behaviourists and trainers dislike quick fixes? I assume that the perception is that a quick fix won’t work long- term, or may create a bigger problem in the future, and I know that with the wrong technique this can happen, just as it can with a slow-fix technique, or indeed a no-fix management one.

So the client gets offered a slow or no-fix instead. They get told to ignore his jumping up, and in just a year or four, his jumping up will have diminished a fair bit, at least with the some people. And his stealing and scavenging will be a little bit better, providing you remove all possible temptations. And you have been frantically changing direction every time he pulls on the lead for just two short years, and he already pulls a little bit less on the way back from a walk when he’s tired. And if you shut him in another room every time you have a visitor, and keep him there, he can’t then bite anyone, can he?

So yes, I love a quick fix, but only if it’s an effective, long-term one – which is possible, and no bad thing.