There are so many popular methods for training a dog, that it can be confusing choosing the most suitable technique for you and your dog. If you find this overwhelming, then you are not alone as there is a high disagreement regarding which methods are the most effective and ethical. This article will provide information on some of the top professional dog training techniques, as well as you may benefit from them
#1: The Alpha Dog Or Dominance Technique
Theory suggests that a dog views their family as their pack and will accept a social hierarchy, similar to wolves in a pack. When a dog views themselves as the alpha or dominant animal, they need to learn to respect the owner as the alpha and submit. Certain techniques using a submission and dominance approach involve projecting confidence and authority when it comes to entering and leaving rooms, as well as walking the dog on a leash. For instance, if the dog wants to go for a walk, they must sit before you open the door or place the leash on their collar.
While dominance or alpha training can control unwanted behavior, dog trainers tend to find it an old-fashioned approach. They believe it fails to address the underlying causes of negative behavior and can leave dogs feeling fearful or anxious. The struggle for dominance can be constant and requires persistent reinforcement, which can be complicated for older people or children.
#2: The Positive Reinforcement Technique
One of the most popular professional dog training techniques is the positive reinforcement method. The theory behind this technique is straightforward – a dog will repeat good behavior if the behavior is followed by a reward. Negative behavior will not be acknowledged or will be followed by a punishment in the form of a reward removal. In this technique, physical punishment and reprimands are avoided at all means.
It is important to be consistent in positive reinforcement; therefore, it is essential that all people in the house use the same reward system and commands. Here at Top Tier Dog Training we begin with constant rewards each time the dog performs good behavior, then move on to intermittent rewards when the behavior becomes a norm. Beginners may accidentally reward negative behavior and this can be detrimental to training. For instance, the dog may be let outside if they begin barking at another dog or squirrel.
#3: The Clicker Training Technique
The clicker training method is another one of the professional dog training techniques based on operant conditioning. Using the same principles as positive reinforcement, clicker training could be grouped in with the group of positive training dog training methods. The clicker training option utilizes a device making a sharp clicking noise to signal when the desired behavior is performed.
One of the advantages of this technique is that it signals the moment when the behavior is completed, as well as the exact reward. Of course, the dog needs to be conditioned to know that a click indicates a reward. The dog will then associate the click with a reward, but a verbal command can be introduced forming new associations.
#4: The Electronic Training Technique
Electronic training is one of the most controversial types of professional dog training. This method utilizes an electric collar delivering a shock or spray of citronella when the animal is not acting in a specific manner. It is typically used when training at a distance where a leash cannot be used. For instance, shock collars are used to train dogs to remain within the boundaries of an unfenced location.
As is mentioned, this approach is highly controversial with many debates regarding its effectiveness. One argument is that it relies on punishment instead of rewards to train the dog, meaning that the dog learns what it must not do instead of what it should do. A second issue is the stress it places on the animal leading to permanent anxiety problems for dogs. The shock collars are often utilized by inexperienced owners, which can lead to overuse and unnecessary pain for the dog on a physical and psychological level.
As you can see, there are several professional dog training techniques ranging from electric training to positive reinforcement. Using the information above, you can choose the training method most suitable for your situation.