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Dog Training Techniques - Basic Principles Dog Boarding Modest Dog Los Angeles New York City Houston

Starting with this vast topic about the obedience of dogs, we must know the main categories into which Dog Training techniques are divided. In this way we will be able to know which one is suitable for our partner and which one we should apply or know more about the subject when asking for help from an expert.

These categories are separated into: learning theories and dog training techniques based on canine ethology.

Techniques based on learning theories focus on modifying the dog's behavior, giving less relevance to the typical behavior of the canine species.

For their part, techniques based on canine ethology focus on the typical natural behavior of dogs, prioritizing the establishment of behavioral patterns around the species, giving less importance to learning theories.

Techniques that include violence and mistreatment of our furry dog should not be admitted, or even considered, in modern dog training techniques. Deliberately acting against the well-being of our dog can have very serious consequences.

Techniques based on learning theories

This category includes those techniques whose main teaching methods are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement or punishment.

As all these techniques are very different from each other, they are classified into three

specific subcategories: traditional dog training, positive training and mixed techniques.

1. Traditional dog training

Traditional training originated in war dog canine schools and was highly successful in training military dogs for both world wars. After the Second World War it became very popular thanks to the stories of heroic dogs.

In these techniques, negative reinforcement and punishments are the exclusive means of training. To achieve results, it is necessary to physically force the dogs until they perform the actions the trainer wants. Choke, prong, and electric collars are excellent tools for this type of work.

Although these techniques are fiercely defended by their practitioners, they are also attacked with the same stubbornness by those who consider them cruel and violent.

The main benefit of traditional training is the great reliability of the trained behaviors. Disadvantages include potential collateral behavioral problems caused by training, as well as possible damage to the dog's trachea when choke collars are used.

These techniques should not even be practiced, unfortunately, they are the techniques that have been written about the most and that we find on the Internet.

2. Positive Dog Training

Positive training includes a set of techniques based on the principles of operant conditioning developed by B. F. Skinner.

With these techniques, it is not necessary to use training collars, and the training sessions are very rewarding for both the trainers and the dogs. The main teaching method consists of the use of positive reinforcements, popularly known as rewards.

Therefore, what is mainly done is to reinforce the desired behaviors whether through food, congratulations or others. There are also means to eliminate unwanted behavior, but punishment is not used in any case. Currently the most popular positive training techniques is clicker training.

The main advantages of positive training are that:

The results are as reliable as those obtained with traditional training.

It is not necessary to physically break the dog.

It is very simple, fast and fun to train a dog this way.

We encourage him to learn by relating for himself what we expect of him.

Paradoxically, the main disadvantage of positive training is the speed with which initial results are achieved. Many novice trainers are amazed by the initial stages and do not worry about perfecting the training. The consequence is, logically, that the training remains half done.

3. Mixed techniques

Mixed techniques are intermediate points between traditional training and positive training. Therefore, they tend to be less harsh than the first, but less friendly than the second.

These techniques have given very good results with dogs that compete in contact dog sports, such as Schutzhund, RCI, Mondioring, Belgian Ring, etc.

Generally, trainers who use mixed techniques combine the use of the choke collar with rewards. However, they often prefer to use toys instead of food. According to trainers, this stimulates prey drive. The exception to not using food is usually in the initial stages and for tracking training, but this depends on the trainer.

Techniques based on canine ethology

Techniques based on canine ethology are those that totally or partially ignore learning theories, and focus on the dog's natural behaviors.

Its fundamental premise is that the owner has to acquire a higher hierarchical status than the dog. In this way, the owner assumes the role of pack leader, or alpha dog.

Although these techniques are very popular, their actual effectiveness is highly questioned. Furthermore, they are such diverse techniques that a standard or clearly defined line of training cannot be found, unlike what happens with traditional training and positive training.

Most trainers do not consider these techniques as training tools, but simply as complementary procedures that are useful. In the same way, many practitioners of these techniques refuse to be considered dog trainers. However, most people not involved in the dog world believe that these are dog training techniques.

Now knowing the basics and the techniques to implement, it is time to ask yourself if it is time for an expert to help us with our furry friend in the friendliest way possible.


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