Things to know about dog training

June 08, 2022 by admin

Some may say that – by default – human behavior moves towards the general improvement of the diverse disciplines that it performs; a trend that often leads into – not always conclusive –debates on what is the best approach in terms of attaining the objectives of the discipline in question. This is also true when it comes to the animal behavior control field, where perhaps one of the most popular objects of discussion would be: What is the most effective dog obedience training? On this matter, trainers’ viewpoints range across two main doctrines: All positive reinforcement and Alpha dog or dominance theory.

Pure positive reinforcement in dog training basically refers to the practice of encouraging your dog to reproduce certain behaviors by rewarding it with gratifying stimuli, such as giving him a food trait or delivering caressing immediately after the desired behavior has been performed. However, constant use of this reward-model may condition (spoil) the dog into expecting rewards, each time it performs the indicated activity. This type of ‘trigger’ behavior may not be conducive for successful, long-term obedience training adherence.

Most defenders of this model elaborate on the fact that this practice is painless for the animal, thus going along with the animal rights and respect values which most of us feel aligned with, after all we don’t want our beloved pets to ever experience suffering, or do we? Well, here is the thing though, if your dog only exhibits “good behavior” when it wants a reward, then: What stops him from not doing what he is supposed to if the urge of –
let’s say – chasing a cat is bigger than that of eating a cookie?

While ‘Indusive Training’ may be effective for some dogs, on selective exercises, this methodology may not work all of the time, for all dogs.
As an example, a professional dog trainer knows that an English Bulldog is not the best candidate for obedience competition; nor is a Shih Tzu the best candidate for “tracking drills”.

Some advocates of the reward-only-modality, feel it should be used exclusively. They go on to claim (without conclusive scientific evidence) that this is the only “humane” way to train a dog. Dog lovers, owners and professionals alike are undeniably advocates of humane animal safety and practice. And there are many dog training methods that are highly effective and—at the same time—adhere to and oblige safe and humane outcomes for our beloved pets.

Now, as for effectiveness, well, this is highly debatable. One could argue that if an alternate food reward was more desirable (a cookie vs. a “live” rabbit, for example) a dog might stop doing what he is supposed to do (“good behaviour”), and chase the more delectable food source (“bad behaviour”).

Now, let’s remember that this are both extreme viewpoints which constitute two elements of a very diverse spectrum of possible approaches. In fact and as usual, a middle standing may be the best alternative for both you and your beloved pet.