Following on from my blog post about the BBC’s program, I’m interested to know what my readers think. Is dog training optional?
Certainly the amount of training that each owner may want to put in might vary. There’s clearly a difference between how much time you might put in with a dog you wanted to compete at a world event with, as opposed to a dog who’s role in life is of much loved family pet.
However the difference in the level of understanding between those two examples might not be as big a gap as you think. And good socialisation and training is vital to prevent dogs being dangerous around people or other dogs.
You see what both the pet and professional both need to understand is the basic principles of how the dog’s that we share our lives with learn. Obviously the professional might look to hone their skills more, but the principles remain the same.
Because whilst every household will have different rules, teaching your dog how to observe those rules will fall into one of the following categories:
My personal dog training philosophy is that I can train a dog to perform reliably by using the Positive Reinforcement & Negative Punishment areas, with the scales being heavily weighed in favour in the use of the former.
'Naughty' or 'Stubborn' dogs are just labels for dog who are doing something they find reinforcing or enjoyable - our job is to persuade them of an alternative ;-)
This book below explains the science in more depth in a nice, easy to understand format:
You see punishment doesn’t teach our dogs anything only reinforcement can do that. So if we want to see more good behaviour from our dogs, we have to train ourselves to NOTICE it and then REWARD it when it happens.
Training our dogs is often soooo much easier than training ourselves ;-)