27 Feb Train Your Dog…Please
Each day I am reminded more and more how very important it is to train your dog from the second they enter your home. Being a professional trainer it is often hard to see the problems families and dogs face. Sometimes it is an owner’s own neglect that causes the problems but mostly I see it is just because they are not informed the right way to do things.
Dog training over the past 15 years has dramatically changed. It went from our grandparents saying rub their nose into it if they go to the bathroom in the wrong place, to an age of electric collars.
Clicker training also known as positive reinforcement training, entered the dog training world. B.F. Skinner actually was using it in World War II. It is based on operant conditioning in which an animal’s behavior is based on the environment, not the other way around. Owners sometimes find it difficult to maneuver a clicker, leash, treats, and dog all at the same time. Another option with the same principal of the clicker is using a “marker”. A marker is similar to the clicker however it is usually a word or a sound. You are marking your dog’s behavior. Hopefully the good, not the bad! With the marker comes the reward.
With having being exposed to many different kinds of training, I feel the best way is using the positive reinforcement training. I do not believe in punishing a dog when they do something wrong. Timeout? Yes, punishment no.
The problem that I have come across in this day and age of “I need it now” mentality is many people are turning to quick fixes in training. They want their dog to mind their manners, walk nice on the leash, like all people and dogs, and they want this yesterday. Well I would like a million dollars, but that isn’t going to happen either! Owners want to do the best for their dogs, however when they see that it takes much longer to do things positively they get frustrated. I do try to remind them of the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day!” However it all goes back to our society, we want it now. Everyone expects it to happen as quickly as we change Internet pages or process the Facebook updates.
Please don’t have that way of thinking. Many of you consider your pets just like your children. You don’t put those high demands on your children, don’t do it to your dog. When our kids are babies, were learn how to read their body language as they are non-verbal and can not tell us what they need or how they feel. We need to do so with our pets. Read, learn about their stress signs, learn about what is and is not acceptable dog greetings, do some research.
Most importantly, you can have that perfect dog, and it really is very simple. Start training the day you bring them into your family, and never stop training! There is always something to learn. Don’t get complacent and assume my dog knows it. Just as we need to keep our minds sharp and our confidence up, so do our dogs.