Proper Dog Training

Every dog owner should be sure to learn the best techniques for proper dog training. A well trained dog can be a joyous companion or an efficient service animal. All dogs are capable of being well trained; it is up to the owner or owners to keep a consistent training program while providing for the needs of the dog to keep the dog healthy and well behaved. A properly trained dog is typically easier to care for, and will be much less likely to attack people or other animals, or destroy property.

Role of Exercise in Dog Training

Exercise is vital when training or caring for a dog. A dog should be allowed proper time and space every single day to expend energy. Pent up energy can make a dog anxious, and anxiety is unhealthy for the dog. A dog that constantly has pent up energy and anxiety is much more likely to attack when provoked, and may seek to expend nervous energy by doing things like destroying furniture.

Operant Conditioning for Dog Training

Operant conditioning is a system of training that uses rewards and consequences to influence certain behaviors. This system is the most common system that is used for proper dog training, and is very effective if used correctly and consistently. Consistency is essential for the success of operant conditioning, and is often the most difficult aspect of dog training. Repetition, or continuing to meet the same behaviors with the same rewards or consequences, is important to proper dog training.

Reinforcement

Reinforcement is used to increase the frequency of certain behavior. Reinforcement can be positive or negative. Positive reinforcement is the presentation of a desirable consequence, such as a treat or praise, after a behavior that is seen as acceptable. Negative reinforcement is the removal of an undesirable consequence after a behavior that is seen as acceptable.

Punishment

Punishment is used to decrease the frequency of certain behavior. Punishment can also be positive or negative. Positive punishment uses the introduction of unfavorable consequences to discourage behavior that is seen as unacceptable. Negative punishment uses the removal of a desired consequence after behavior that is seen as unacceptable.

Improper Dog Training and Misunderstandings

People looking to acquire a dog should do some research about proper dog training prior to the introduction of the dog to the household to avoid common misunderstandings about dog training. If a dog is conditioned incorrectly from the beginning, it is very difficult to correct that conditioning. It is much better for the dog and the owners if training is executed properly from the beginning.

Favorable Outcome Response

Simply put, a dog is always going to take action that results in the most favorable outcome for the dog. This can mean chewing up the couch to expend energy, or not chewing up the couch as it will not warrant a scolding from the owner. Each situation is presented in this fashion to the dog, but dogs live in the moment so behavior must be responded to immediately for the dog to understand.

Improper Punishment

Punishing a dog by doing things such as rubbing the dog’s nose in feces after the dog has defecated on the carpet is not conducive to training, and can make the dog anxious and afraid. A better alternative is to bring the feces outside and show the dog where it is acceptable to use the bathroom. Catching the dog in the act and correcting the behavior is even more effective. Hitting or hurting a dog can also hinder training and make the dog aggressive and defensive towards the owner and others.

There are many misconceptions about dog training, including:

  • Dogs misbehave to get revenge
  • Dogs know when they have misbehaved
  • Dogs want to please owners
  • Certain dogs are stubborn or difficult to train
  • Dogs will always expect the same rewards for behaviors

 

 

Sources:

“Dog Training.” Cesar’s Way. Cesar Millan, n.d. Web. 8 Jan 2014. <http://www.cesarsway.com/training/dogtraining/Dog-Feeding-Tip-Video-1>.

Presutti, John. “Prevention and Treatment of Dog Bites.”American Family Physician. American Academy of Family Physicians, 15 Apr 2001. Web. 8 Jan 2014. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0415/p1567.html>.

“Understanding Training Methods.” Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Association of Professional Dog Trainers, n.d. Web. 8 Jan 2014. <http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose/methods.asp&xgt;.