Although we have modified their behavior a lot, dogs are still very instinctive animals that need to adapt to our world. If we want them to coexist with the family, with society and with other dogs without causing problems, we have to educate and train them appropriately Dog obedience training Houston.
There are different dog training techniques to get dogs to behave the way we want them to. As we will see, these techniques can be more or less recommended depending on the character and attitude we want to achieve. In this AnimalWised article, in collaboration with Dog Training puptownhouston, we review the main types of dog training, with their pros and cons.
Positive dog training
The techniques of positive dog training are based on rewarding the dog when it performs a behavior that we like. In this way, the animal associates this behavior with something pleasant and, therefore, is eager to repeat it. The prizes or rewards used are known as positive reinforcementsand usually consist of food or caresses.
This type of dog training has many defenders and is the most used today. It is because strengthens the bond that we have with our dog, improves its psychological well-being and increases its ability to learn new tasks. In addition, this type of dog training can be very fun, making the dog both like the tutor are looking forward to learning together.
As a drawback, we can point out that some trainers argue that this type of dog training is not enough, especially in working dogs. However, the evidence says otherwise.
Types of positive dog training
Positive training goes far beyond giving dogs treats, that is, not only positive reinforcements are given. In fact, it includes numerous techniques that have proven effective. These are some of them:
Clicker training: consists of getting the dog to associate the sound of a clicker with a reward and then associate said sound with the task we want it to perform. Thus, we get the dog to associate the task with the reward, whether we give it to him or not.
Extinction: consists of not reinforcing unwanted behaviors. For example, if the dog barks at the neighbors, we should not pet it to calm it, since we will be rewarding this behavior.
Incompatible behavior: we order the dog to perform a behavior to avoid another that is undesirable. For example, if we want to prevent him from fighting with another dog, we throw him a ball so he can go get it.
Mark of absence of reinforcement (MAR): if we order the dog to do something, but it does not do it, we do not reward it and we indicate with a gesture that we are not going to do it . This way he will know that there is no reward if he doesn’t do what we say.
Counterconditioning: it is about changing the emotion that a stimulus causes. For example, if bicycles scare him, we will give him a treat when one of them appears to make him feel something pleasant when he sees them.
Desensitization: it is reducing the intensity of an emotion. For example, if our dog is afraid of other dogs, we will condition him to be less afraid of him.
BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training): consists of eliminating the stimulus that arouses fear or aggression, such as the presence of another dog, only when its behavior is not aggressive. Thus, the animal will understand that by being calm it will also achieve what it wants: for the other dog to disappear.
Traditional dog training
Traditional training is the most controversial dog training technique. It is based on negative reinforcement , that is, when the dog carries out an unwanted behavior, the trainer He gives him a punishment. It can be physical punishment, using tools such as choke, prong or electric collars; or psychological punishment, such as scolding or locking him up.
This type of training has been and is highly criticized, since today we know that dogs do not usually understand punishment. Furthermore, it deteriorates the bond that we have with them and reinforces their fears. In fact, punishment has been associated with greater excitability and aggressiveness, making them less sociable and happy animals.Furthermore, dogs educated with punishments have more difficulty learning.
Although there are still strong defenders of this type of dog training, it is becoming less frequent due to scientific evidence that denies its effectiveness and a growing concern for animal welfare.
Mixed dog training
Mixed dog training consists of combining positive training with some traditional training techniques. It is, therefore, about positively reinforcing desired behaviors and punishing unwanted ones. Electric collars are usually used, so that the animal does not associate pain with its handler. However, this type of collar can harm the physical and mental health of the animal, as we explain in this article: “Is the anti-bark collar good?” .
This type of dog training is not as harsh as traditional dog training, but it is less friendly than 100% positive training. For this reason, at ExpertoAnimal we encourage positive training as it is the one that obtains the best results without harming the well-being and health of the dog.
Other types of dog training
The above dog training techniques are the main ones and are based on dog learning theories. However, they can be combined with other complementary types of training. Here are some of them:
Training based on ethology: it is based on the dog’s natural behavior and instincts. Above all, the social group instinct is encouraged.
Basic obedience training: the dog is conditioned to have useful behaviors in everyday life, thus adapting to our world. Positive training is usually used to teach basic commands.
Training for special functions: working dogs have different training than domestic dogs. This is the case of rescue dogs, guard dogs, protection dogs, therapy dogs, drug detection dogs, guide dogs, sports competition dogs, etc.
Which dog training technique is best?
A dog training technique is good if your dog can understand it and you can teach it in a simple way. Furthermore, the most appropriate thing is that it is based on the dog’s natural behavior and, of course, that it is not violent so that you can both have fun together learning new things. tricks.
You should also keep in mind that each dog is different and, therefore, so are their behavior and needs. Therefore, if you want to train your dog, go to a trusted dog trainer like puptownhouston, where positive dog training techniques are used. In this way, you will learn with a professional how to train your best friend, communicating more efficiently with him and achieving behavior that makes you both happy. In addition, at puptownhouston you will also find different training courses focused on different objectives, such as the canine skills course or the therapeutic smell course.
Dog Training Tips
These are some tips to help you get started in dog training:
Eliminate stress: the main cause of behavioral problems in dogs is stress. Therefore, before starting any training we must reduce your stress and the factors that cause it, such as lack of stimulation.
Be patient: training a dog requires a lot of time and effort, so we must be patient until we see the results. Furthermore, it is a constant task that we must do throughout the animal’s entire life.
Communicate: humans and dogs do not speak the same language. Therefore, we must make ourselves understood and learn to understand them if we want to communicate with them. If your dog does not obey you it is because he does not understand you, not because he cannot learn.
He’s just a dog: your best friend doesn’t do things to annoy you, but just because he’s a dog doing dog things. Don’t be angry with him. When an animal behaves “badly” or we are not able to train it, it is usually due to our mistakes, both in training and in its daily care.