The Three Primary Principles of Dog Training
It has been scientifically proven that we have 1.3 seconds to influence a dog's behavior. That means we have 1.3 seconds to either reward a behavior we want repeated or to correct a behavior we don't want repeated. If those two events, the behavior and the reward, do not happen within that time frame the dog is never able to make the connection.
Motivation, which can be either positive or negative, is what we use to get our dogs to do or not to do something. There are four ways to motivate a dog during training including toys, food, physical praise/petting, or with a correction. A skilled trainer knows how to utilize the appropriate motivation for each individual dog. Trainers who limit themselves to using only one training method are setting the dog up for failure. Many trainers and pet stores offer training classes using solely positive methods; however, this method becomes ineffective if the dog does not have the appropriate desire for the reward being offered. Through the use of only negative motivation a dog can be made to do anything, but as a result the dog will be fearful and nervous around the handler. These are two reasons why a balanced method of training is necessary to educate our dogs and ensure they maintain a positive, upbeat attitude throughout the training process.
Negative motivation is delivered through the effective use of a training collar and leash. There are four different types of training collars available to help educate our dogs. These include the flat collar, choke collar, pinch or prong collar, and the e-collar or remote training collar. A study was conducted in Europe on over 200 different dogs to determine which collar was the safest and most effective training tool. At the top of the list for least amount of trauma to the dog’s neck, as well as being the most effective when utilized correctly, was the e-collar. The pinch or prong collar ranked second in the study, followed by the flat collar, and lastly was the choke collar. For many reasons, which we are happy to discuss with you, we highly recommend using the prong collar and the e-collar when training your dog. The collar you prefer to train your dog with is completely up to you, and we look forward to the opportunity to educate you about the various options. All dogs respond to correction differently, so the goal is to pinpoint the dog’s working level on a specific collar. This means determining the lowest level of correction necessary for us to see a change in the dog’s behavior while still maintaining a good attitude about training.
Each dog is an individual, and their training plan must be adjusted to their specific learning style. Finding the correct motivation for each individual dog is crucial to ensure success for both you and your dog.
Consistency is the most important principle of dog training; however, it is the hardest for most people to follow. There are people out there who have exceptional timing and perfect use of motivation, but are inconsistent. Their inconsistency makes it impossible for the dog to understand what is expected of him or her. This leads to the dog feeling nervous around the handler, often developing a poor attitude towards training. Our dogs need everything to be black or white in order for them to comprehend and predict what we want from them. We must be consistent in our expectations for our dogs and not allow anything less than that. This makes everyone in the household, both two and four legged members, much happier.