Though dog training methods differ from one professional trainer to another, one theme emerges time after time – offering rewards works. Depending on the type of training involved, the items used for positive enforcement differ. In guard and search dog training, it is common to give playtime with a favorite ball or chew toy only after the session. For obedience and trick training, very small edible treats such as dried liver bits are given during the training period whenever the dog properly executes the behavior they are being trained for. A few trainers use only the pleasure the dogs takes from human approval, with playtime and romps and with much petting and verbal praise.
Trainers know something that some inexperienced dog owners don’t realize – negative enforcement such as scolding, jerking on a lead, or any harsh punishing behavior don’t work. In training a dog it is necessary to be firm, calm and kind. If a pet owner loses his temper, raises his voice or his hand to his pet, he is teaching a totally different lesson.
The temperament of dogs is such that they want to please. The challenge of teaching them basic obedience, behavior modification, or advanced tricks is to be able to let the dog know what it is you want him to do. He does not have language skills; he does not understand when you point or push at him. Yet he is willing to do almost anything you ask – IF you ask so that he can understand.
Anything that frightens or threatens your pet during training is detrimental to the results you will achieve. You want an animal that is excited when you get out the training lead or take him to the designated training area. You do not want him to cower in fear because he has been punished on that lead or in that area.
If you are kind, firm and consistent in your dog training methods, you will in time have a canine companion to be proud of.