The Evolution of Dog Training
Dog training in the Western world has came a long way since the early days of dog training in the 1800’s. In the early days of dog training, the dog was simply trained to obey the owner’s commands. The owner would simply direct the dog and tell him what to do and the dog would receive a reward for his efforts. This is the standard way that animals are trained today. Only the accessories changed. crosses and ties were the accessories of choice; today the tools of dog training can be anything from a clicker to a simple leash. As the training techniques and tools have evolved, the standard have changed also. As training tools and techniques have changed so has the style of the trainer. As the trainer has changed so has the style of his teaching. As a trainer, you too should change your style and learn the methods of training. One of the most important areas to change is the process of rewarding the animal for a job well done.
In the early days of dog training, animals were simply gathered into a pack and the amount of food was the only driving force in the animals desire to listen to the trainer. The same thing still holds true in the wild. A dog will wait patiently to be released from the pack and will often go without food for days at a time. In human terms, it would be called drudgery. If you want your dog to listen to your commands, you must first train him to be obedient by attaching a positive consequence to an appropriate action. One way to do this is to reward immediately upon completion of a command. This way the dog knows that he is doing something right. It is easy to reward a dog as he is relatively easy to manipulate with food. Distractions such as toys are a great way to reward your dog as well. If your dog understands which type of behavior brings a reward, then this will help decrease the chance of the dog turning to bad behavior as he does not feel the need to earn his food.
Many people have asked how to avoid reinforcing the wrong behaviors when training their pet. It is important to remember that reinforcing a dog’s behavior can be done in several ways. One of the most common ways is through the use of physical consequence. This can be anything from a simple pull on the leash to spanking. If you use this method, however, you must be careful that you are not rewarding for bad behavior. Spanking is a potential for more aggression and will usually escalate any bad behavior already established. Physical consequence should always be saved for actual violence.
If you are trying to train your dog, you can reduce the chance of bad behavior by using methods of positive reinforcement. This can be anything from full blown praise, to a treat, to simple a verbal high pitch as a reward. The idea is to teach your dog that following a command means that they are being rewarded. Training situations should have clear cues to teach your pet what is expected, and you should reward your dog for doing as expected. One of the best ways to get your dog to understand is to set them up to succeed. This means that when you give a command, you get your dog to perform the behavior that you asked for. The best way to do this is through cues. When you see the dog doing something that they should, you should reward the dog with verbal and physical praise. Over time, the dog learns to associate the command and the desired behavior with rewards and eventually stops the bad behavior, allowing you to stop the bad behavior and move on to new concerns.
I believe that most dog owners are exceptional in their ability to train their pets, but that just means that the responsibility to train falls squarely on the owner. If you are looking to train your dog, you should really try to find a course that will help you achieve your goals. Training your dog can often be a frustrating experience as you try and prove to the dog that your training is paying off.