Treat Training or Voice Only

There are many misconceptions about dog training these days.  Just like training children, you can be too harsh and your dog will obey out of fear or you can be too lenient and your dog will be a nuisance.  Having a well-behaved dog that is a pleasure to be around and is socially happy is what most owners want for their best friend.  At Advanced Animal Care Richmond, and Advanced Animal Care Berea, we want to help you enjoy your dog in every way possible.  The following is a discussion of dog training trends.

Using A Marker For Dog Training

Using markers for dog training became popular in the 1980’s when clicker training was introduced.  The idea is to reinforce positive behavior the instant it is observed.  There is great controversy over what that marker should be.

People, who believe in the clicker method, will use a small click or mechanical noise to reinforce a desired behavior.  When training your dog, you want to reward him or her the moment they do something right.  You will find that you can time a click much better than using a “yes” voice command.  Also, a clicker doesn’t convey any emotional message.  This is good in dog training because you don’t want your dog to feel punished if you don’t say “yes” and your body language reveals your frustration.  Dogs are social and if you have a good relationship with your dog he or she will want to please you.  So with a clicker, it is easier to hide displeasure.

Other Treats

Some trainers find fault with the clicker method.  One of the reasons is they feel a trainer who uses a clicker does not believe in disciplining a dog who has done something wrong.  Even a mother dog will discipline a pup to teach it something or get it to quit disturbing her.  This is the natural way dogs learn in my opinion.  Other people fear a clicker will not always be heard or will be confused with other clickers in a class.  

Besides a clicker, there are a variety of treats or markers that you can use.  Getting a dog to respond to a voice command takes time and patience.  At the beginning of learning a new command, treats or rewards are necessary.  Here again is an area of controversy because some people believe the myth that dogs should just want to obey out of loyalty or love for their owner.  Some dogs will work well for praise.  The trick is to find the right reinforcement that works well with your dog.  This can be a food treat, although this will add extra calories and for that reason, should be used sparingly and in tiny amounts.  It might also be praise, a pat on the head, playing catch, or taking a walk.  You will want to avoid bribing your dog with treats by giving them to him as he does the task and not showing it to him to get him to perform.  Randomly rewarding your dog with treats will help your dog to generalize the command so that he or she will perform no matter where they are or what is distracting them.

Spending time training your dog is a good way to interact with your dog and keep his mind active.  Having a well-behaved dog is rewarding to you and appreciated by everyone who comes in contact with your dog.

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