writes that it has become quite a challenge to decide on
a particular training style to implement with her dog.
There are numerous trainers in her area to choose from.
She’s gone to a few of them, and each seems to have a
different approach to remedy her dog’s behavior. The
difficulty is in deciding which training method is the
right one. Which technique or method works the best?
who knows their stuff, Cindy, will tell you there is
more than one way to train a dog. One of the terrific
challenges in working with dogs is adjusting training
plans according to each individual. A trainer must have
the ability to provide realistic options that are
effective, appropriate and realistic for each owner and
her dog. Rather than deciding on a definitive right vs.
wrong approach, I suggest you ask yourself the
is the technique you are being taught effective? If you
and your trainer are working to teach your dog to do
something or refrain from doing something, you should be
able to see the progress or results fairly quickly. If
it is not getting you closer to your training goal, your
trainer should be able to suggest several alternative
do you feel comfortable implementing the techniques
being taught to you? Have you been given enough
information to apply the techniques properly, and can
you physically do what is being asked of you? There are
some trainers who still recommend a physical, hands-on
approach to working with dogs, but this is not at all
necessary. Training skills based on the science of
positive reinforcement embrace the concept of little or
no physical handling, which many people prefer, and some
require. Bottom line, if you are unwilling or unable to
implement the techniques being presented to you, find
someone who is more suitable for you and your dog.
how is the training approach affecting the relationship
between you and your dog? Ideally, proper instruction
should provide you with a means to communicate with your
dog, and better understand the canine perspective. The
bond you have should become stronger; your relationship
enhanced. If the training methods you are implementing
are causing your dog to submit to you, become frightened
or wary of you, or distrusting of you, the training is
destined to break down, right along with your
are you and your dog comfortable with the training
equipment that has been suggested? While early training
and management require a leash and some type of collar
or harness on the dog, there are lots of options out
there. Many are not at all dog friendly, and some are
down right inhumane. Bottom line, a good dog trainer is
going to be able to aid you in getting the results you
are looking for using training tools and methods that
don’t harm, scare, or injure your dog.
what is the dog getting out of the deal? Old style ‘do
it or else’ training relies on the threat and/or
implementation of punishment to keep the dog obedient.
But this misses the point completely — dogs will
logically and naturally repeat or offer behavior that
works for them. Modern training uses rewards in many
forms, from treats to physical praise, access to the
yard to snuggling on the couch, or a quick game of tug
to a ride in the car, to train and manage the dog’s
behavior in all situations. It is much easier to control
a dog who genuinely wants to behave the way you’ve
told him to, than the dog that must be forced or
corrected into compliance.
to your little voice, Cindy. Training your dog should be
productive, enjoyable and beneficial for your both.