The subject of dog training has been of great enough interest that a library of books has been written about it. Many are specialized, such as how to train a German Shorthaired Pointer to hunt birds or step-by-step books on training for obedience work. The list is long but all ways of training are based on some particular principles and methods.
There can’t be the only one way of “how to train your dog“, because dogs are so different. Different breeds and even personalities. A sensitive dog may be trained most efficient with rewards and the hyper energetic Doberman may respond better using some force when needed (however, every dog might be trained using only positive method with no force).
The age of the dog is another important consideration since it is easier to train a puppy which is as a plain white paper sheet, than a mature adult with inveterate habits.
The objective of the training is an important matter. Many professional trainers accept puppies at four months of age in their training programs. First level usually is based on playing method at this age. It should be fun for a pup to learn new commands.
Some breeds inherit aptitudes to perform functions by developing and training themselves in some way. The GSP is a good example. All that is necessary is to take one into a field that has birds and pointing develop naturally. The Greyhound is another good example, all you need is just a rabbit and it will run as fast as the wind after it.
However, it requires training to perform their functions properly, especially when it comes to hunting dogs.
DOG TRAINING METHODS
- The Reward Method. With the reward method a dog is never disciplined but rewarded only when it responds to your satisfaction. A reward may be offered either as verbal praise or food; when the latter is given as a treat now and then, the dog accepts it as a form of praise. This method requires an iron patience.
- The Need-Reward Method. The need created is that for food. The training must take place before feeding the dog.
Let’s take an example – training to come: tie the end of a ten meters (30 ft) cord to dog’s collar and take it outside. Use the same command each time with the same tone of voice. Say “come” (or other word you use) and offer food as a reward if pup comes to you. If puppy doesn’t move towards you, pull the cord and than reward when it comes. Being hungry, it will take the food with relish. Then walk on and when the dog is some distance from you, repeat the procedure. Repeat it dozen times, which is enough for one session to be still fun for the pup. Next day go through the same places and in a surprisingly short period of time you will have conditioned it to come on command. The next step is to repeat the command in different places. Another step is in more and more chaotic places till you can train next to many people, kids and dogs having around.
- The No Reward Method. About the only time the no-reward method is used is to break an established bad habit. Let’s take an example with leash pulling:
this is an alternative way to train a dog constantly pulling the leash. This way is with using no force. Cut a branch and remove all the leaves except those at the end. As you walk your pulling dog, lower the branch so that the dog is walking into the leaves on the end. In a short time most dogs will understand that pulling means discomfort and will back off walking with a slack leash.
- Training By Rote Method. To illustrate the training-by-rote method I will use the example of housebreaking puppy. This requires a good deal of time for a week or two, so you need a holiday or to have possibility work from home, but the rewards are great.
The puppy is to be housed in a crate or cage just large enough for it to stand holding the head in a normal straight position. Place a folded blanket in the cage as a bed. Take the puppy outside every few hours and above all a few minutes after a meal, but when the puppy back in the house it should be in the cage when you don’t have the time to watch its every move. It is a rare puppy who will soil its own bed if taken outside often enough. Once the habit of relieving itself outside is established most every puppy will remain housebroken for life.
- Force Method. The last method in any list of techniques to try is training by force. I can say if I was to have to beat use electric shock on or otherwise abuse a dog to make it perform or to correct bad habits, I would not use electric shock but look for other methods.
Some people still use primitive things like rolled up newspapers and shock or pronged collars. Training is not an excuse for abuse. It’s the basis for communicating with your dog. And how can a dog respond in a loving, trusting way to physical abuse? Most important is the right contact and abuse, than all the commands are possible to teach.
I personally combine Reward Method 80%-90%. Not 100%, because sometimes I punish my dogs when I think it will give the better result or will be more efficient at that particular moment or situation. The punishment I use is a harsh command or jerk on the leash if a command is not enough.
It is important moment to know, that you should always give punishment at the moment itself, and never afterward. Your dog associates your punishment specifically with what it is doing at that moment. If, for example, it has just torn up your newspaper but is now running up to you joyfully wagging its tail, it has now completely forgotten about the newspaper. At that moment, the overpowering fact is that your dog wants to make contact with you and is glad to see you and you react to that with punishment…
A dog should never be punished for deeds you do not like, but rather corrected. What’s the difference between a punishment and a correction? A correction is when you give a command of disapproval at the moment the deed is about to be done or is being done. A punishment is anything thereafter.
For example, a dog jumped through your screen. You come home and find the dog not where it is supposed to be. Believe, it is too late to communicate with the dog that he should not be jumping through the screen, unless it jumps in front of you now.
To punish a dog for a past deed only confuses the dog, hurts the trust between owner and dog, and does not teach anything useful. Dogs do not have the same sense of logic that humans have. They do not plan or reason out situations like humans do and they really do not analyze what and why has happened before. Dogs live at the current moment – here and now.
There are many more methods you can just imagine. I wrote a very basic and most popular once.
I would recommend to choose the method which fits you most and than look for a good trainer in your region. It is important to train your dog with professional trainer at least for a two months, that you would learn how to find the perfect contact with your best friend.
First of all you should learn it yourself to be able to teach your dog.
Interesting to know how you train your dog and which method you go for, so please, share it with us and stay tuned for the next updates in my blog!