Today there are countless dog training techniques being used differently by each dog trainer.
However, the education of a dog is based on two fundamental categories:
- Basic dog training technique based on learning theories, called "Operant Conditioning".
- Dog training technique based on canine ethology.
If you want to discover what each one of the dog training techniques consists of and how you can use it to train your dog, then in this article I will explain you how you can implement them in your next dog training sessions.
The basic dog training technique "operant conditioning" focuses on correcting the dog to avoid the bad behavior to be repeated, and the positive behavior is reinforced in an attempt to get it repeated.
On the other hand,
Canine ethology is based on the scientific study of dog behaviors in its natural environment, focusing mainly on instinctive attitudes and actions.
1. Dog training technique based on canine ethology
Canine ethology is based on studying the dog's natural behaviors in its natural environment.
The fundamental idea is based on making the dog understand that its owner is the "Alpha and dominant male" or "leader of the pack" therefore it is he who commands.
There are people who seem to have a natural affinity for it, due to some innate gift or perhaps through the tone of voice or the body language they use, or even some strange ability to guess what the dog is thinking.
In the past, people who trained pure breed work dogs, the approach of them was more physical, which implies a significant amount of correction (punishment) when they ignored the commands.
The punishment, although intermingled with praise, from which the positive dog training was born (dog training based on reward).
Poor education results in the vast majority of canine behavioral problems;
Also Lack of socialization of the puppy, negative punishment methods such as choke collars,
e-collars, or human aggressive behaviors in dog training sessions may lead to serious behavioral problems in your dog, especially as an adult.
An Ethologist is an expert in dog behaviors and dog communication.
If your dog has significant behavioral problems such as fear, aggression, or anxiety, I highly recommended you to seek advice from an ethologist.
In my opinion each dog is an individual who feels stimulation differently, whether mental or physical. His way of being, his age and his sex will influence his behavior during each dog training session.
Not all dogs respond to the same teaching methods, and the obedience techniques used, have to be different in different scenarios so that they adapt to the personality of each animal.
Although canine ethology is popular all around the world, and since it is such a wide technique, a complete step-by-step guide cannot be found online, as is the case with traditional dog training and positive dog training.
2. Dog training technique based on learning
This dog training technique is based on using teaching methods that use reinforcement or punishment .
2.1 Positive Reinforcement
Adding something your dog likes as a consequence of a behaviour.
2.2 Negative Reinforcement
A behaviour increases because of an aversive event or stimulus is removed or prevented from happening.
* What is different in this method is that you don’t give something positive for the reinforcement; instead, you remove something negative. Like, remove some restrictions you have applied earlier as a reward for the behavior.
2.3 Positive Punishment
Adding something your dog dislikes as a consequence for a behaviour.
2.4 Negative Punishment
subtracting something your dog likes as a consequence to a behaviour.
Each one is very different from the other, but they can be classified into two main subcategories:
- Traditional dog training technique.
- Positive dog training technique.
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2.5 Traditional dog training technique
Traditional dog training technique was used to train war dogs in the second world war, heroic war dogs came out there, and this method gained a lot of popularity.
In this training method, punishments and negative reinforcement were the order of the day in almost every dog training sessions.
They used pinch collars, choke collars, martingale collars, and electric collars to physically mistreat and correct the dogs until they obtained the exercise ordered by the trainer.
These techniques were cruel and violent. The result was significant behavioral problems and collateral damage to the dog's neck.
*I have to precise that the results are obtained (fast) with the use of this dog training technique, and this is why almost every dog owner has decided to proceed with this method.
These extreme way to train dogs should be avoided; however, the Internet is full of written guides on this "dog training technique".
I personally think that training a dog is not based on cruel and unusual punishment, but it is based on improving the relationship with the dog and enriching the mutual bond over the years.
Once the dog understands everything you say, your orders, you will feel great satisfaction for the excellent work you have done, and for the beautiful relation you have with your dog.
2.6 Positive Dog Training technique
Positive dog training is the most used method to educate a dog nowadays.
This method works through positive reinforcements; the dog is rewarded when he performs the exercise that the trainer/owner wants.
Currently, the most popular method of positive training is clicker training.
The dog needs to be stimulated continuously during this kind of training. Treats, toys, caresses, and verbal praises are very effective , but the trainer/owner should never punish the dog physically.
2.7 Advantages of positive reinforcement :
- Dog training sessions can take place anywhere; just grab some yummy treats and you are good to go!
- Successful and accurate results very fast and easy.
- Creation of a mutual, sweet and strong bond between the dog and the owner.
- It is a simple and fun way to train a dog.
- There is no use of physical or verbal punishment.
- You don't need fancy training equipments, forget all the correction collars; you need only a clicker and a handful of treats.
3. What is the best age to train a dog?
Your new puppy is a blank canvas just waiting to be made into a masterpiece.
Start training your dog from the moment you bring it home.
Puppies begin the training from birth, and professional dog breeders start the handling and the socialization immediately.
Young puppies have a short span of attention, but you can start practicing and teaching right away simple basic obedience.
Puppies are small sponges, and they quickly absorb lessons. Your baby dog is beginning to learn the moment he sets paw in your home, and I think that the most important lesson is teaching him that learning is fun.
If your dog is no longer a puppy, do not worry because you can train a dog without problems at any age, only it will be a little more complex, and of course you need more patience ;) .
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4. dog training Tips for a successful session
- When you start a training session, it should be in a quiet environment to avoid possible distractions.
- Begin training your dog after a play session and when he is hungry.
- Stay the whole training session motivated, and keep all the time your dog also motivated and engaged.
- Treats are crucial in dog training; They must be delicious, and the favourite one of your dog.
- Give your dog orders only if he is looking at you.
- Dogs respond much better to short orders, accompanied by visible hand signals, avoid repeating them continuously, as this confuses the dog.
- Talk less, dogs don't understand human language.
- The tone of our voice is as important as the expression of our face.
- When you punish your dog, adopt a more serious and severe tone of voice and say a clear and deep "no" , but not screaming.
- The word "no" is one of the most important words that a dog should learn, as it will avoid doing dangerous things, and it will clarify to your dog when he is doing something right, and when not.
- Giving orders at the right time and knowing when to say "no" are important things to learn.
- Dogs looks continuously at the body language we transmit and knows exactly when we are distracted or bored during training sessions.
- Work on just one command.
- All dog training sessions should end on a positive note.
- BE PATIENT, BE PATIENT, BE PATIENT.
Finally, and to finish, dog training should be fun for you and your dog. The sessions should be short, precise and sweet.
If you do not get the expected results or your dog's attitude worsens, go to a dog trainer, it is the best decision to take in this occasions.
If you want to read the best methods of dog training I recommend you to take a look at the following blog posts in the dog training category.