Dog training is basically the application of behaviour analysis that makes use of the natural environment of past antecedents and relevant outcomes to change the dog’s behaviour, either towards it to help in certain behaviours or undertake certain tasks, or towards it to behave effectively in modern day domestic society. This study of the past and prehistory of man’s best friend is called dog domestication. Domestication has had a profound effect on our reliance on dogs today, their use in all facets of our lives from therapy to hunting, and even on how we interact with each other. There is even a phenomenon called pack behaviour, whereby a group of dogs will remain within the same breeding group and so on.
The success of training depends upon the right choice of breed (size), behaviour, personality and experience of the trainer/breeder. Different breeds are suited for different purposes. A large working dog needs to be strong and confident in order to perform his duties, while a small toy dog needs to be cuddly and friendly to facilitate socialization. In terms of the type of dog training to be undertaken, as mentioned earlier, it depends on the breed and socialization goals of the dog.
One common method of dog training is through positive reinforcement, which basically means rewarding a dog whenever he behaves in a desirable manner. Positive reinforcement is particularly important when house training a dog, since dogs are naturally inclined to obey their pack leader, hence it is important to effectively enforce house rules through positive reinforcement. The most popular method used to reward good behaviour is ‚puppy mills‘, where puppy mill owners subject the puppies to a variety of punishments, such as being let outside or being denied access to food and water.
An alternative method for dog training that works well is called positive reinforcement mixed with dog psychology. In this technique, a dog is trained by using positive reinforcements while discouraging unwanted behaviours. For example, treats or toys can be used to reinforce a dog’s behaviour, as can physical punishment. Mixed training techniques use these different methods to train a dog and ensure that both the owner and dog learn to coexist peacefully. A well-trained dog will act better around people as well as animals, and be an enjoyable companion to his owner.
Punishment for unwanted or bad behaviour is also commonly used in dog training, with negative repercussions such as a time-out, a fine, or a trip to the doghouse being the usual penalty. However, the general idea of punishments is that the dog must suffer, either to encourage the good behavior or to deter the bad. Punishing a dog because he did something wrong reinforces bad behaviour, which will make the dog reluctant to repeat the same mistake again. Rewards on the other hand, provide a dog with his favourite treat or toy to encourage good behaviour.
Any dog trainer worth their salt will tell you that behaviour problems are inevitable when you are trying to train a dog. There are two types of behaviour problems: inappropriate behaviour and harmful behaviour. Incorrect behaviour is what you should aim to avoid at all costs; harmful behaviour on the other hand, is something you must deal with even if you cannot change the dog’s underlying reasons for exhibiting this behaviour. In this case, you should reward the good behaviour and discourage the bad. This is where behaviour trainers can come in.
If you are going to train your dog yourself, you should take into consideration several important factors. Firstly, how experienced are you? If you are just starting out, it is better to consult a dog trainer who is an expert in this field. They will help you identify appropriate behaviours and correct them, and teach you how to train your dog effectively. Experienced trainers will also be able to advise you on how to modify undesirable behaviors so that they become less frequent.
It is vital that you do not ignore any problem that you may encounter as your dog will not respond positively when you do not address it immediately. If your dog begins to bark incessantly, it is important to train it as soon as possible to prevent the excessive barking from disrupting your sleep or making your neighbors angry. Always train your dog to sit whenever you take your dog outside. This will help you keep your neighborhood free of excessive barking dogs.