Training your dog is essential if you want to have a great time with your pooch. A well-trained dog reflects the bond between the pet and its owner. There are tons of dog-training methods that claim to be the best to make your dog well-behaved around people and other pets.
Choosing the right training method can be tricky because it all comes down to what suits your dog. Here are some of the proven and tested dog training methods that work on most dog breeds and sizes with various temperaments.
It is also called instrumental conditioning and involves a combination of rewarding and punishing methods to train your dog. In short, the dog is taught that whatever it does, good or bad, will have inevitable consequences.
It is a very effective way to teach a certain behavior in your dog or if you want to train your dog to do a specific thing. This type of training is subjective. The more you repeat the exercise, the more instances of positive behavior will increase.
The operant conditioning method requires patience and consistency on behalf of the dog owner or the trainer.
Positive reinforcement focuses on rewarding the dog’s good behavior. For example, whenever a dog obeys the command like ‘sit’ or lies quietly beside the desk while working, you give the dog the treat to reinforce its good behavior. Nonetheless, the bad behavior of the dog is not rewarded.
It is easy to lose track of how many treats or rewards you have given your dog in positive reinforcement. So, you should always give the treats in small amounts to avoid unhealthy weight gain in your dog.
If you are using the positive reinforcement method in your house, ensure that every household member knows which behavior to reward in your dog. It is easy to unknowingly reward your dog for running after squirrels or cats by letting the dog go outside.
Many modern dog trainers and animal behaviorists argue that positive punishment is not humane to train dogs. Positive discipline typically requires some force that discourages the dog from repeating that unwanted behavior.
Some would say that the word positive is confusing. Still, this word is used because the dog is discouraged from repeating the unwanted behavior by subjecting it to an undesirable element.
Examples of positive punishment are hitting the dog when it does not obey the command or using an electric shock collar whenever it does something undesirable. This method is highly discouraged as it puts the pet under stress, and the dog ends up distrusting and disliking its owner.
Negative reinforcement is closely related to positive punishment and involves taking away the unwanted elements causing the unwanted behavior. It is not the best way to go about training dogs. It also uses the element of force rather than scientifically proven humane techniques.
The best example of negative reinforcement is forcing the dog to sit and releasing the force until the dog obeys the command and stays in that position.
Negative reinforcement results in a dog that is scared instead of reinforcing the positive behavior in the dog. The dog might be mistaken for being well-behaved, but the dog is often too scared to do anything for fear of punishment.
Negative Punishment might sound like something terrible, but it is one of the most effective ways of operant conditioning. No physical force is involved in this method. You take away something positive to discourage your dog’s undesirable behavior.
For instance, you can discourage the behavior of biting by exiting the room when your dog bites you. Another example is taking your dog outside the dog play area if it misbehaves around other dogs to discourage this behavior.
The classical method starts from the moment you bring the dog home. It is incorporated into the dog’s regular routine. The sound of the dog food falling on the bowl or opening of the dog food will condition your dog to know that food is being given to it every time he hears that sound. Another example of classical conditioning is your dog following you to the door because it knows that a dog walk will follow this action.
Dogs were not born to salivate at the sound of food bowls. They are conditioned in this way due to the repetition of this rattling of the food bowls. Although this method is not the most popular, dog trainers can use it to their advantage.
The clicker training method is very closely related to positive reinforcement. This method revolves around using a device that makes a clicking or whistling sound. The clicker is used whenever a dog exhibits positive behavior. For example, when a dog uses the desired place to pee, a clicker can let it know that a reward will follow this behavior.
When the dog is conditioned to the clicker sound, dog trainers can use it to their utility to train the dog to exhibit other wanted behaviors. This method needs to be employed with other dog training methods as it does not reduce the frequency of unwanted behaviors.
Alpha dog training relies on the inherent pack mentality of dogs that was inherited from the wolves. It means that the dog owner establishes himself/herself as the leader and alpha dog of the pack. It conditions the dog to obey its dog owners and submit to their will.
This method requires that the dog owners not let the dog sit on the furniture or let the dog come to eye level, diminishing their dominance. This method is not widely accepted as dogs are kept as pets in the modern age and not in the wild.
This method relies on the unbreakable bond between humans and dogs. This type of training requires compassion and love on behalf of the trainer. The trainer employs constant communication and focuses more on bonding than punishing the dog for its behavior. The trainer learns to read the dog’s behavior and body language with time.
The dog is subjected to a positive environment that reduces the frequency of unwanted behaviors.
Most of these training methods strengthen the bond with your dog. You need to choose the method that suits your dog the best.