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We all remember the old fashioned way of training your dog. A lot more yanking, yelling and physical correction was involved, as were the use of choke chains and other correctional devices. This method has become highly unpopular amongst pet dog owners and replaced with more gentle techniques that modern trainers say are more effective. It is now the more popular way of training dogs, and has been since the 1980s and '90s. Dog-friendly dog training is explained as reward-based. This basically means the following:
Although it sounds like things have moved on, dog training is still a highly controversial subject. Some people believe that correction is an important tool and inherent in the way dogs behave towards each other. The idea behind reward-based training is that your dog will become a reward junkie, and stop doing the wrong things because it enjoys doing the right thing. The idea is to focus on the positive behavior and phase out negative behavior by making positive more attractive.
Arden says that positive reward based training is easier to teach than correcting negative behavior because there are fewer "right" things to teach than "wrong". For example, you want to teach your dog not to pee on the floor, the sofa or the lamp shade, but you only want it to pee outdoors. Therefore rather than telling it not to pee on the floor, the sofa or the lampshade - i.e. "no", "no" and "no", you can teach it one simple "yes" when it pees outdoors. Arden says that this is much more fun, more effective and less stressful for both the owner and the dog. The dog will enjoy doing the right thing and therefore learn quicker, to get its reward.
It is suggested here that humans have the tendency to focus on negative behavior rather than re-enforce good behavior. Arden suggests that if you catch your dog doing something good five times each day, and reward it each time, you will find each day it will be easier to do because the dog will be learning the best way to get your attention. "For example, if he walks up to you and sits in front of you, let him know how pleased you are that he chose such a polite and friendly way to say hello." If you yell at the dog a lot when it is doing things wrong, not only will it carry on doing the wrong things, block out your voice, but will develop bad habits in order to get your attention. Meanwhile, you will think your dog is to blame.
This book has delightful color illustrations to keep you entertained and show the happy doggies doing all the right things. Positive dog training is one end of the spectrum of the field, so do read around and you will learn the best way that works for you and your dog. Some trainers use reward as well as correction, and it also depends on your dog as to what would work best for them.
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