Dog training is an application of behaviour analysis that employs the observed present environmental circumstances of past antecedent events to modify the dog’s behaviour, either to aid in shaping specific behaviours or undertake specific tasks, or for both it to efficiently participate effectively in modern domestic life. The word ‘dog’ in this context denotes not only a species of canines but also any domesticated dog and their breeds. Domesticated dogs are those that have been bred for profit in the professional breeding context and who therefore meet specific objectives pertaining to dog behaviour. This article is an account of this dog behaviour and also considers alternative training methods that may be employed for improved dog training outcomes.
One of the most important components of dog training methods is that of conditioning. Conditioning occurs when a stimulus is repeatedly presented, with the end goal of encouraging a response (conversion) to occur. Some of these stimuli can be associated with a reward, such as food, a pat on the head or other affectionate physical contact. Other types of stimuli are used to induce similar responses in dogs by using terms that resemble those that humans use when speaking about rewards, for example, ‘time out’ or ‘getting rough’.
It is the job of the dog training trainer to provide positive reinforcement (i.e. treats and praise) when a dog behaves in a manner that is desirable. This can only happen if positive reinforcement is consistently offered at the right time and in the right place. It is also important to understand that a dog does not always behave in a desired way so that a trainer must learn to be flexible so as to not use harsh punishment for undesirable behaviour. Instead, positive reinforcement should be used in a non punishing manner if that is necessary.
Another important tool in the toolbox of dog training professionals is classical conditioning. Classical conditioning has been around since the 1970’s and is based on the idea that dogs are influenced by both positive and negative reinforcement. A classic conditioning method is to use a small food treat that is attractive to your dog then to lead the dog towards it while the trainer keeps the leash attached. If the dog approaches the treat while being led towards it, then this will cause the dog to salivate and reach for the treat, subsequently completing the classical conditioning exercise.
In the past, this type of pet dog training was considered to be very effective but it is no longer widely used because it can be very time consuming. The problem with classical conditioning is that the positive stimulus (the food treat) needs to remain near the handler at all times in order for the conditioning to be successful, making the process extremely tedious. Also, because the food treats are appealing to the animal, the handler may have to repeatedly make the connections between good behavior and the treats and therefore become frustrated when the desired outcome is not achieved.
A much more enjoyable method of dog training and one that is rapidly gaining popularity across the United States and Europe is clicker training, a form of behavioral modification that is designed to teach pets the behavior that is desirable without the use of treats or physical punishment. Clicker training uses sound like a click, the click, followed by some kind of verbal command like “Good!” or “Sit.”
Clicker training dogs offers a completely different method of teaching pets the behaviors that you want them to learn. Clicker training is based on the positive reinforcement principle which is used in classical conditioning. Classical conditioning uses positive stimulus to create the desired response, in this case, the behavior that the dog is learning. Clicker training dogs does not use the classical conditioning method because a click is not present, thus no positive reinforcement is necessary to create the desired behavior. Clicker training dogs is an effective and fun way to train your pet at home.
Using clicker training as part of your dog training routine can help you reinforce the behaviors that you want your pet to exhibit. Clicker training dogs offers a unique method for conditioning your dog that will have them responding positively to you every time you give them a treat. You can eliminate the negative behavior issues that are common with most traditional training methods. Clicker training dogs is a great choice for getting your new skete on the right track!