How Positive Reinforcement Dog Training Can Help Your Pet Dog
Dog training is the systematic application of behavioral analysis that makes use of the dog’s social environmental circumstances of antecedent and subsequent events to alter the dog’s behavior, either to help it take on specific tasks or undertake specific actions, or for it already to engage actively in modern domestic life. It aims at restructuring the dog’s behavior so that it can be successfully domesticated and serves as a useful tool for a harmonious existence among people. In other words, dog training aims to transform a being into a social being with a well-developed psychological structure. This transformation is achieved by altering the dog’s motivational processes, establishing or toughening it up as the pack leader, redirecting its energy to more socially acceptable activities such as companionship, obedience, and sports pursuit. These changes are made not only to make the dog’s life easier, more pleasant and less difficult, but also to inculcate into its unconscious mind certain desirable traits and behaviors that will facilitate its successful reintegration into the human society.
Dog behavior is shaped by two primary factors namely, the dog’s genetic predisposition and its environment. The former predisposes the animal to appropriate behavioral patterns and entails the development of certain behaviors that are usually reinforced through positive reinforcement. For instance, if an animal inherits from an owner who is aggressive, the animal may very well learn to exhibit aggression as a means of survival. This kind of aggressive behavior will be strengthened through positive reinforcements such as food, affection and praise. Likewise, an animal brought up in an unstable household may develop behavioral problems that include temper tantrums, inappropriate elimination habits and aggression toward other dogs and people. The latter is called situational conditioning and is accomplished by applying certain rules to the dog, rewarding or punishing it for exhibiting corresponding behaviors in various situations.
The goal of dog training and its companion, the methodical approach to it, is to mold the animal toward acceptable behavioral patterns by using positive reinforcements. This can be done through reward based or corrective type of dog training. The most popular and effective model-rival training approach, however, is the motivational training approach.
Motivational dog training uses positive reinforcement and the clicker system to teach dogs new skills and to reinforce desirable behaviors. Clicker training, as it is commonly known, involves a loud, clicking sound (the clicker) that alerts a dog when it has accomplished a desirable behavior. The clicker is attached to a leash and is therefore easy to carry with you. When the dog approaches the end of the leash, the clicker makes a distinct, distinctive noise and the dog are rewarded for approaching the end of the leash. Repeat this procedure as desired and the dog is taught to go where you want him to go without thinking about it.
Clickers are also useful for teaching younger dogs, such as the ones from the puppy stage. Puppies are naturally curious and have a tendency to run off on occasion. You can teach them to stay close to the handler by using the clicker to give signals whenever they get too close. Your pet will learn to stay within a few yards of you, on command, until you give the signal to stop. This simple dog training device can make a big difference in the life of your pet.
The hunting dogs used in dog training are bred to track their quarry, and the behavior problems encountered by these puppies were often caused by their previous owners’ inability to provide suitable hunting dog training. Although many breeds have been developed to be hunting dogs, not all are suitable for such work. Many of the breeds which are found as hunting dogs today were bred for years as watchdogs.
Positive reinforcement dog training teaches dogs to respond to positive stimuli such as treats and praise. Training dogs with positive reinforcement is similar to training puppies. The positive reinforcement is usually a food treat, but it can also be a verbal request such as “Good boy!” Use the word “Good” in a commanding voice while you reward the dog with praise and a dog treat. It is important that you always reward and praise your puppy when he exhibits any kind of desirable behavior. Never punish a dog for doing something you do not want him to do.
A lot of dog trainers emphasize the need to use dog training techniques that are humane, fair, and consistent. Even though dogs are naturally playful creatures, training them should be done in a quiet, safe, and controlled environment where the dog and his human trainer can communicate openly without excessive shouting or barking. Remember that you and your pet dog learn much from your first encounter with each other than you may learn from reading books or watching TV. Be sure to keep this in mind when you start dog training for your pet dog.