Dog training is the application of behaviour analysis that makes use of the natural events of the past, present and future antecedents and effects to change the dog’s behaviour, either towards it or take on specific tasks, or even for it to engage effectively in modern domestic life. This study has been carried out over a period of about sixty years from the results of a much-celebrated British television show, ‚The Dogs‘. The programme was popularized by well-known British actors and actresses, who provided the dogs for the study. Their long-term commitment to the study is what made it successful.
As part of the programme, the dogs were trained to perform certain specific actions or sit, stay or come when called. At the same time, they were taught some simple ‚wonderful‘ verbal commands like „Sit!“ and „Come!“ In addition, the owners and the dogs themselves were immersed in a series of cognitive learning tasks. Such tasks were designed by psychologists who specialised in using different training methods.
The overall aim of this dog training teaching process is to develop a mutual understanding between the dog and its owner. This is achieved by encouraging the mutual respect between them. After all, it is the owner who is the pack leader, and the dog must recognize that he cannot always be at the top of the pecking order. That is where the relationship gets tested. Training teaching the dogs to obey can only be successful if both parties cooperate.
A major part of dog training involves the use of positive reinforcement. This is especially important because dogs cannot memorize what is ‚right‘, so using positive reinforcement may help them understand what is expected of them. Positive reinforcement helps teach the dogs to think for themselves. The basic way of applying positive reinforcement is by rewarding them for their obedience. Dog owners are encouraged to give their pets a food or a toy after every successful performance.
Teaching the dog is not all about commanding it. It also involves giving it its basic commands. One of the most important basic commands is the ‚Come‘. Every dog training school includes this basic command as part of the curriculum. It is one of the easiest commands to teach the dogs since it simply needs to be repeated every time the dog performs the action you want him to perform. Some dog training schools even include the command in their curriculum.
Every dog training school will have its own system of rewarding the dog for good behavior. There is actually no limit to the number of ways a dog can be rewarded. The more the dog performs better, the more it will be rewarded. Dog trainers are now using different types of reward systems. Some use food rewards, while others prefer to use a special type of toys.
Non-associative conditioning is an innovative technique that dog trainers started using after they realized that classical conditioning is not always as effective as they thought. Classical conditioning uses positive, negative, and classical conditioning or positive reinforcement together with a stimulus such as a sound or light to command the dog to do something. In classical conditioning, the dog learns to respond to the stimulus on its own instead of being prompted to respond to other people or other animals. The problem with classical conditioning is that it is only applicable for a limited period of time. As soon as the training stops, the puppy or the dog gets used to performing the same behavior on its own so it doesn’t really train the dog for life.
Clicker training, on the other hand, is based on operant conditioning with an electronic clicker which produces a pleasant sound whenever the trigger is clicked. Clicker training makes the dog more responsive to certain behaviors since the clicker produces a ‚conditioning‘ stimulus whenever the trigger is clicked. The clicker can be used in combination with classical conditioning or on its own. Clicker training is highly recommended by most dog trainers.