Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Training Techniques

Hello all, and welcome to my dog training blog. I find it appropriate to start off with the different techniques that are used in dog training. Not everyone agrees on which is best, so I will lay out the basics and let you as a reader do more research and ultimately decide which is best for you. Of course you don't have to choose one or the other, you can mix different techniques with everyday training, which is what I prefer. Anyways, here are the main techniques used for training mans best friend.
  •  Positive reinforcement 
This is by far the most common method now days. It uses the simple yet effective idea that giving your dog a reward for doing something right will make him learn the desired action quicker. The dog is reinforced usually using treats, praise, toys, or anything else that is high value to your dog.
Clicker training is a popular way to teach your dog tricks. For those of you not familiar with clicker training, here is a link that explains it better than I could:

  • Corrections
The other side of the dog training spectrum is training by use of corrections. Corrections are not to be confused with punishment. Corrections are quick, harmless reminders used to let your dog know what is okay and what is not okay. Corrections are usually in the form of a verbal 'no' or a light tap with the hand or foot. Lots of people want to be all in with positive reinforcement and frown upon anyone who uses the slightest correction with their dog. I say, don't listen to them! Corrections are vital to making your dog understand your expectations, and despite what some people may think, they are not meant to hurt the dog in any way. A good example of this method of training is the prong collar. It looks...cruel. But if used right, it can help emensly with pulling. it is intended to do nothing more than remind your dog to stay by your side when walking, Of course there are people who use them incorrectly, and cause more problems than there were to start with, but that doesn't mean prongs should never be used.

  • Punishment
The title speaks for itself. This is the form of 'training' used by people who do not know how to handle dogs, or just don't care. Punishments very often makes any problem worse, or doesn't help at all. For example, rubbing your dogs nose in its pee is not going to make it stop piddling in the house. Sorry. Nor is physically hitting or kicking your dog going to make it sit, or come, or whatever else. The only thing this accomplishes is making your dog fear you.
However, a few 'punishments' can be used correctly, and punishment is a strong word for it, it's more like down time and cooling off. For example, if you just had to break up a dog fight (and trust me, I've had to do it countless times) you may find it in your favor to put your dogs in 'time out', or more accurately make them down-stay for fifteen minutes or more for them to calm down and cool off. 

I say, a happy medium is required for ultimate dog training success. I focus mainly on positive reinforcement, with a few corrections here and there, and a time out when needed. As long as you are not hurting your dog in any way, and you are getting the results you want, you are on the right track. Just find what works for you.