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Training Hall

Training is a great way to keep your dog’s mind active and helps
make sure you and your dog understand each other.

We admire dogs for their affection, loyalty, playfulness and for the way they help us in so many ways. But they also have some habits which, to them, are a natural part of dog behaviour while to us can be annoying. Barking, jumping up and chewing are just a few. Learning how best to train a dog will improve your life and the dog’s and will strengthen the bond between you both. You need to teach some basic manners which will make living with a dog more enjoyable, safe and rewarding. Dogs are usually keen to learn, and the route to your success is good communication. Your dog needs to understand what behaviour you want and why.

How should it be done?
In its simplest form dog training is the process of modifying the behaviour of a dog. You can find all kinds of advice about dog training from all kinds of sources – some advocating the “firm hand” the “alpha dog theory” and the “aversive training” methods. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the myriad of advice and methods you may come across, and regardless of which you choose to follow, effective training means controlling the consequences of the dog’s behaviour.
Many confrontational training methods, whether staring down dogs, striking them or intimidating them with physical manipulation will do very little to correct improper behaviour and can even give rise to aggressive responses. Reward based dog training is based on the simple truth that if behaviour is rewarded, it is more likely to be repeated.

Understanding the dog’s learning process
Training our dogs is easier when we understand how they learn. Dogs learn through the immediate consequences of their behaviour and this determines how they will behave in the future. They work to get good things and avoid the bad things in life. If behaviour results in something rewarding like food, petting or play the dog will offer that behaviour again. However, if behaviour results in an unpleasant consequence like being ignored or losing those things the dog considers rewarding he will perform that behaviour less often.
Timing, consistency and motivation are essential in teaching your dog anything from house training to advanced obedience. Dogs aren’t born knowing what humans expect of them and must be taught in a way they can understand.
Timing is important because dogs live in the present. Unlike us, they cannot make connections between events and experiences that are separated in time. For your dog to connect something he does with the consequences of that behaviour, the consequences must be immediate. Praise or corrections that happen too late can result in confusion for your dog.
Consistency means that you must be very clear in your training. A rule must be a rule always. You and other people who interact with the dog should teach and respond in the same way. For example, if you sometimes pet your dog when he jumps up to greet you but sometimes tell him off instead, then he will be confused.
Motivation
means that in order to encourage or diminish particular behaviours, the reward or correction must be meaningful to your dog. When teaching your dog new exercises, find a high value reward that makes him want to work for it. Some dogs respond well to praise and petting, while others are more motivated by food or toys, so use whatever works best with your dog. Similarly, corrections for undesirable behaviours should only be enough to lessen or extinguish the particular behaviour. Strong verbal cues and even ignoring a behaviour are methods to dissuade your dog from undesired behaviours. When your dog stops the undesired behaviour, redirect him into a more desirable behaviour and reward him.

For example, you can easily use treats, games and praise to teach your dog to sit when people approach rather than jumping up at them. If your dog is sitting and focusing on you, he won’t be pulling on the lead and jumping up when they are close. On the other hand you could jerk the lead and force the dog to the ground; this would get you the same effect but consider the consequence of this action. The dog may learn that other people are frightening because he gets this rough treatment, this in turn could result in the dog behaving in a threatening manner on the next occasion. It could even result in the dog becoming frightened of you because of the hurt you inflict on meeting other people. If acceptable behaviours can be learned without pain or fright then why not teach then in this way?

Puppy trainingWithout training, the world can be a pretty confusing place for a dog. People expect dogs to behave in certain ways, and to follow certain rules, but, like a child, a dog can only know what these rules are if they have been properly taught.


Remember:
1. Reward behaviours you want.
2. Don’t reward behaviours you don’t want.

 

Pawprint An important part of training your dog is teaching him that it pays to do things you want him to do. But also he needs to learn that it doesn’t pay to do things you want him to do. Discouraging unwanted behaviour doesn’t have to involve pain or intimidation. You just need to make sure that unwanted behaviours are not rewarded.

Pawprint Dogs are very observant. They learn body language and signals quickly. Be aware of your behaviour when you are training. An upbeat and relaxed trainer will get better results because the environment encourages learning.

Pawprint Dogs do not comprehend the moral concepts of good and bad. They do not do things out of revenge or because they are angry with us.

Pawprint Keep training sessions short, regular and fun, end with a nice play session as a reward and you will give your dog a chance to shine!


 

Useful Training Resources

PDSA

Association Of Pet Dog Trainers - APDT

Centre Of Applied Pet Ethology - COAPE

Contact Paws In Britain 01233 861337 info@pawsforawalk.co.uk
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