It is easy to inhibit basic commands in dogs when they are young and intuitive. Dog trainers and behaviorists insist on providing basic commands for training your dogs at an early age to prevent any difficulty faced by them in later years.
Trainers suggest that you can start training your dog at home by adhering to effective tactics by engaging, rewarding, and positive disciplining them.
When it comes to training a canine, you could find many known techniques such as reward-based training, scientific training, operant conditioning, pack leaders, positive reinforcement, dominance theory, the Koehler method, Cesar’s way, etc. The list goes on. But one technique doesn't always fit all.
Regardless of which method and techniques you use, effective dog training boils down to one thing-controlling the consequences of your dog’s behavior. If you want to influence the way your dog behaves, you need to:
Reward behaviors you like.
Make sure behaviors you don’t like aren’t rewarded.
Most effective tactics for training your dogs at home
Positive reinforcement is the most talked about and popular method for canine training. It was popularized by trainers like Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, who trained the Obamas’ dog, Bo.
The theory of “Positive Reinforcement” suggests that you should reward your dog for good behavior. If you reward them, they’re more likely to repeat good behavior. On the contrary, bad behavior does not get a reward or acknowledgment. However, the dog owners must practice positive disciplining to demotivate dogs from repeating bad behavior such as removal of rewards, like a toy or treat is taken away.
This method of training is often combined with clicker training which gives the dog a distinct sign of the exact moment the behavior was completed. Commands also need to be short and to the point such as Sit, Stay, and Come.
Start with continuous rewards every time your dog does the right thing. Then, gradually move to intermittent rewards as the behavior becomes consistent. It can also be easy to overfeed during the training, hence try using small treats or avoid using food every time you reward them.
It relies on four points:
- Positive reinforcement –It reinforces their positive behavior.
- Positive punishment -It discourages any behavior by adding something the dog sees as unpleasant.
- Negative reinforcement – It increases behavior by taking something away that’s unpleasant.
- Negative punishment – It demotivates behavior by taking something away that’s desirable.
Scientific training is a mixture of lots of different training methods that are continuously analyzed, tested, and improved. Science-based dog training can be difficult to define as it relies on information that is continually building and changing.
The trainers aim to understand dogs’ nature, their ability to be conditioned, and the effectiveness of rewards and punishments while training any canine. Hence, training a dog slightly differs from training another dog.
Trainers work hand in hand with animal behaviorists who are constantly creating new studies and experiments to comprehend dog’s psychology. This method relies heavily on these studies to work with dogs. It relies on operant conditioning
Operant conditioning, sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning, is a method of learning that employs rewards and punishments for behavior.
It mostly follows positive reinforcement and, less often, some forms of punishment. Trainers believe that it’s important to reward the positive behavior of dogs and punish the bad behavior to discourage its repetition. This method also relies on dog psychology to find ways to improve off-leash relationships between owners and their pups.
Clicker training is the most basic form of a pet training method. It heavily relies on operant conditioning and follows the same principles as positive reinforcement. Mostly, it’s grouped in as a method of positive reinforcement, rather than as its own form of training.
The trainer relies on a device to make a quick, sharp noise, such as a clicker or whistle or to address a dog when a wanted behavior is accomplished. The advantage of using clicker training is that it helps dogs to easily comprehend and imbibe the desired behavior. As every good behavior is rewarded, the clicker also helps to signal the dog that with the completion of every command they’ll receive a treat.
First, the dog needs to be conditioned to know that a click means a reward is coming. Then the dog can associate a behavior with a click and a reward. Finally, verbal command can be introduced to form a new association.
Electronic training is a bit extreme method of training a dog. It relies on the use of an electric collar that delivers a minimal electric shock or a spray of citronella when your dog is not performing the desired task. It’s mostly used for training at a distance when a leash can’t be used.
Shock collars are very effective when training a dog to stay within boundaries of an un-fenced yard or to teach them to work in fields or do hunting work. Unlike the popular belief, people who rely on shock collar claim that there’s less risk of a dog getting hurt than with choke collars or other mechanical devices.
This method mostly relies on punishment for bad behavior instead of rewards. Professional trainers believe that this may help the dog learn what they shouldn’t do, rather than what they should do. Using continuous punishment can also lead to a great deal of stress and permanent anxiety issues for dogs. It can be a weapon in an inexperienced hand.
Model-Rival or Mirror Training
The model-rival method of training, also known as mirror training, believes that dogs can learn by observing other dogs. By providing a model of good behavior or a rival to compete for resources, dogs learn to mimic behaviors.
This method may use another human or animal act as the model. The trainer will praise them for completing tasks on command or punishing them for unwanted behavior. The dog, as an observer, will learn from the observation. The model can also be used to act as a rival, competing to do the right task for a desired toy or treat as a reward, encouraging the dog to pick up on the task and accomplish it more quickly.
As the term stands, mirror training relies on mimicking good behavior. To put it simply, the dog learns by example. This training method is equally successful in training a canine as positive reinforcement or clicker training.
It’s also easier for the dog owners who spend a lot of time with their pets. Your dog spends a lot of time observing you and following you around making it easier to conduct the training at any time.
Alpha Dog or Dominance
Alpha dog or dominance training relies on a dog’s instinctual pack mentality to create a relationship of submission and dominance. It relies on the theory that dogs will follow a social hierarchy, as observed in captive wolf packs. When a dog sees themselves as the alpha, they need to learn to instead respect their human as the alpha and submit.
Trainers conduct this method by learning a dog’s body language and responding accordingly, projecting confidence and authority, and going first when it comes to eating, entering or leaving rooms, or walking on a leash.
The alpha training follows a strict guideline that enables your dog to understand that they must submit to you. You forbid them from sleeping with you on the same bed or eat on the same furniture. You also don’t get down to your dog’s eye level. That’s because these are signs that your dog has equal standing in the relationship. You are in charge; you are dominant.
Many modern trainers are critical of this method and claim that pet dogs do not rely on pack mentality as much as previously thought.
Relationship-based training relies on combining different training methods into one. It focuses on a more individualized approach for both dog and owner where the relationship between dog and human drives everything.
This method can help meet the needs of the dog and the trainer and helps to foster communication. It also helps to build a stronger bond between the human and the animal.
The trainer relies on understanding the dog’s body language. They also rely on positive reinforcement techniques such as rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior.
The dog’s environment is controlled to limit possible unwanted behaviors. New information is built on previous success.
There are many animal training methods and techniques you can adopt to train your own dog. Although it can be difficult for most new pet owners to conduct training at home by them, trainers can always step in to assist you whenever needed.
Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is the best doggy daycare in Urbandale. Our in-house trainers can always help you with training your dogs. Being a pet hospital in Urbandale, we can always provide immediate medical assistance to your dog.