Training a Dog
You will find many different opinions on the Internet, from people you know, strangers, books, trainers and the list goes on.
You can read one thing and then read the exact opposite in a different search.
This should help you sort things out. Keep these things in mind:
Whichever way you choose to train your dog you should ask yourself these questions:
Making Things Simple
Training breaks down into two basic categories:
The top three things a dog will work for as a reward are:
This used to be the traditional style of training. This style of training was why you heard a dog cannot be trained until 6 months or a year of age. The consequences could be harsh enough that it could break a dog’s spirit. They would often find more dominant dogs did better with this training. This was more suited to a dog that could take a leash correction and keep on going. Some soft tempered dogs if you corrected them on a leash could become terrified or really shut down with training out of fear. The more common methods used here are:
Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to either side and the list can be quite long. We will list some of the more key pros and cons:
Examples of Differences
Teaching Come (Recall)
Both Styles Can Work
Both ways can train a dog to do the same thing. It depends on a person’s personal preference and how they were taught as to what their opinion is.
How to Decide Which to Use?
What you choose is entirely your choice. This is how we go about it. We ask ourselves this question:
“How would I want to be taught to do these commands if I were the dog?”
In almost any subject you can get different opinions. There is one question where almost everyone would agree and that is this:
“Would you prefer to be happy or sad?”
Most people would prefer to be happy.
Reward is more pleasing than consequence. So this is how we set up training:
You are more likely to need a consequence for a negative behaviour with a high Beta or Alpha type dog. Omegas, once they learn what you want will almost always follow through. Betas or Alphas are more likely to test and not listen.
This is why some people can have such great success with just treat training and others will say “my dog couldn’t care less about treats, they are not motivated by food or they will listen with treats but only so long as there is no distraction like a rabbit present”.
Benefit of Reward First, Consequence Second
Using this method you end up with the Pros of both sides and the Cons of neither. You have a dog that is happy and quick to listen, always follows through and maintains their character and personality.
Also by starting with Reward and then using a Consequence if necessary you can borrow things from the Force Based Side but to a lesser extent. Here’s an example:
If you remember, one of the ways to teach Sit through reward is to use Treats and the way to teach through Force (Consequence) was to yank up on the leash. Both can teach sit but there are pros and cons associated.
In using Force to yank up on the leash we know a lot of dogs, you would hang them before they would ever think of sitting. We had one client come here and say he went through a Force Based Training Class and they had him lift up on the leash. His dog started to become faint and finally sat and he released the pressure and the dog fell over, almost passed out. He cut off the dog`s air supply long enough that it fainted.
The pro you get by using force is that the dog knows they have to do what you say or you will make them. Here is a way to achieve that pro without having to hang your dog.
Reward First -
Leash Pressure Second -
Now you have a way of making your dog follow through. They understand what Leash Pressure held upwards on their collar means and you didn`t have to choke off their air supply to teach this.
Common Ground Between Trainers
Trainers tend to either be 100% Reward or 100% Force. They argue back and forth all the time. They often don`t realize there is common ground. This is the main reason a person looking to train their dog can get so confused. One trainer says to do this and another trainer says the first trainer was an idiot and you should do this instead.
It is the goal of this website to help you analyze the different methods out there and utilize what works best for you and your dog.
If you want a dog that listens well and maintains their character and spirit then you have come to the right place.