Dog Training MethodsHarsh methods of animal training based on a master-servant 'do-it-or-else' relationship have been around for thousands of years and always will be. Why? Because they work!However, nowadays a number of animal trainers worldwide are finding that newer teaching techniques enable their students - dogs, dolphins, elephants, horses, pigs, parrots and people - to learn willingly in ten minutes what traditionally used to take ten days.
As a result an increasing number of ‘command based’ traditional dog trainers - some of whom have already reached the highest standards in obedience competitions - have changed over to positive reinforcement training methods.
To their surprise they have discovered them to be equally if not more effective and certainly more time efficient. Their enjoyment of the new training processes, their approach to learning and their philosophy and vocabulary have changed. 'Command' and 'obedience' become 'cue' and 'good manners', while 'correct' and 'dominate' change to 'show' and 'motivate'.
These cross-over trainers have reached new heights that they never previously dreamed possible. Often with initial reluctance, scepticism and surprise they have come to realise, that:
Correction based training at group classes is often not much fun or motivating for either the owner or the dog. It can become a chore for the owner and dreaded by their dog and consequently the drop out rate is high. All efforts at 'training' cease and the unfortunate dog has no option but to amuse himself and self-train for the rest of his life. Without a job to do, without enough companionship and without enough mental stimulation and without adequate daily exercise he often ends up in the back yard being nagged at and continuously scolded. It is little wonder that so many dogs are confused, unhappy and end up in all sorts of trouble?
When dogs learn because they HAVE TO, they learn unwillingly and often soon forget. However, with positive reinforcement training - especially when used in conjunction with a marker signal that pinpoints the precise required muscle movement before the delivery of the reinforcing praise, pat or food treat - dogs look forward eagerly to training sessons as one of the highlights of their day.
They learn willingly, they remember what they have learned and their repertoires of reliably performed ‘on cue’ behaviours is large because they WANT TO learn.
© Nov 2006, Oliver Beverly, C.L.E.A.R. Dog Training, Brisbane
Click HERE for Essential Training Tip #4: 'Undertand what positive reinforcement training is and is NOT;