Several Methods To Produce Better Behavior From Your Dog

There are several different ways to get your dog to do lots of stuff. You can lure, shape, capture, use imitation, and, yes, you can even coerce and physically manipulate your dog into performing certain behaviors. Coercion was the mainstay of old-fashioned training, and carries with it a high likelihood of unwanted side effects, including fear, aggression, and learned helplessness (shutting down).

Today’s educated, competent, modern, positive-based trainers strenuously avoid the use of coercion and manipulation, relying instead on the first four techniques in order to get their dogs to happily and willingly offer behaviors during the training process.

Keep in mind that getting the dog to do something is just the beginning of that process. In order to “train” a behavior, you start by getting it to happen; once you are able to get your dog to perform a certain behavior (using any of the methods described in this article) you reward and thus reinforce it, so as to increase its frequency. The next step is to associate the behavior with a cue, which will replace whatever you originally did to get the behavior. This is an important step; many amateur trainers fail to ever “fade” (eliminate) whatever method they used to originally get the dog to perform the behavior, and the dog never manages to figure out the cue.

The goal is to get the dog to quickly realize and reliably understand that the cue – not the luring or shaping, etc. – indicates that he has an immediate opportunity to earn a reward for performing a specific behavior.

Read more at Whole Dog Journal

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