It is known world over that domestic dogs, which are scientifically referred to canis familiaris are man’s best friend and the most trusted friend a man can have. It is for this reason that they are the only animals, when well trained and nurtured, can always stay faithful and truthful to its owner. Dog training is therefore a very important aspect of rearing a dog into what the dog owner really wants from it. It really is a problem on how to go about dog training because there are many approaches to it. There are many approaches that can be used in this case and the most outstanding are the use of punishment and rewards. The approach that is considered to be the best is the use of rewards and incentives and not punishment. It therefore goes without saying that for one to achieve good results in a short time, it is better to use incentives and not punishment as an approach of training a dog.
Dog training begins with the introduction of the basic manners that the dog is intended to display at all times. This means that the dog has to receive some form of packaged characteristics that should be displayed in character at all times. The impression that has been created is that of having a variety of ways that one should use to go about this and therefore a trainer should be very keen on which is the best approach to use in regard to the set of manners that the dog in question should exhibit. The bottom line therefore is that one uses a combination of set mechanisms to use just as Arden, in her book, Dog- Friendly Dog Training says (Arden 146).
One major method that stands out as the best approach in the case of use of incentives is the use of a lure-reward method whereby the trainer drives the dog to be in the desired position or take up the desired habit by literally holding the lure and walking to that place. The trainer in this case is expected to hold the luring object and in this case it has to be food, right in front of the dog while walking towards the place the dog is intended to be. Once the dog does as it is directed to, then the trainer will give it the incentive which is food and then go ahead and verbally praise the action while rubbing it gently. Once this is repeatedly done and the dog picks up the habit then the mission will be accomplished as stated by Miller who says in his book, The Power of Positive Dog Training, that this is one of the best ways that can be used to achieve the intended results in a very short time (15).
The use of conditioned reinforcement is equally good in dog training. This can mainly be achieved just as Yin et al says, by the use of a food dispenser that emits food after the dog does an action that is the desired habit. In this case, a specific tone that is emitted is accompanied by the food reward and after several trials, the dog acts just like it is expected after which reinforcement comes as a form of food (129). This conditioned reinforcement acts as the tool that instills a given desired habit therefore contributing to the mastery of the habit by the dog.
Besides the use of conditioned reinforcement and lure- reward methods, there is also another method known as compulsion- praise training that can be used in dog training. In this method, the trainer is forced to manipulatively put the dog in the place or position that it is expected to be by the use of force. The trainer can use a collar and tie the dog up in the place that the trainer wants it to be but then, give an incentive like dog biscuits when it obeys and stays in that position. Many a time, this is applied in situations when the dog seems to be hyperactive and does not respond positively to instructions given to it. When using this method, it is always good to give verbal incentives as this makes the dog happy. Food incentives can also be given as proposed by Miller, as he says that it is very helpful to do this and sure enough, it pays.
Replacement of behavior or making a dog adapt to a given set of behavior is the driving force behind dog training and a dog trainer can also use methods that help reduce the undesirable behaviors. This is geared towards replacing a bad behavior by introducing a good behavior. The dog remains motivated after acquiring a good behavior as well as retaining it and if together with the owner or trainer they have connected well, then even by the sight of them, the dog will behave as expected. And also in this case, for good results to be achieved, the dog should be presented with the reward so as effectiveness to be achieved.
This in the long run means that positive approaches towards dog training benefit not only the dog but the trainer as well. Whenever the dog remembers the aftermath of exhibiting a certain behavior that is desired then most definitely it will act and behave as expected. The animal in all instances will remember to respond to the command that it is given and after sometime, it will do so without even being commanded in the first place. The dog will soon forget about the incentives that come after an action and behave as expected. Food incentives, will work just like spoken words but only when the latter is done in a friendly and loving way. On the same note, it is good to introduce a consequence to the dog just in case a bad habit is displayed (Arden 115). The consequence will in this case act as a reminder that the dog needs not behave in a way that is not desirable.
It is therefore imperative that allowing the dog room to attach desirable behavior with the end result of receiving an incentive is the best way to go about training. When punishment is applied, chances are that the dog will only learn to avoid acting in a certain manner without having an option of how it is supposed to behave (Miller 118). On the other hand, if the punishment is not properly applied, chances are not a good result will be achieved. When a desired action is going on and another command is given simultaneously, chances are that the dog will further its learning. It really matters on how training is conducted because at the end of the day, the dog will begin to act voluntarily and this is when the end result will have been achieved.
Arden, Andrea. Dog- Friendly Dog Training. Hoboken: John Willey & Sons. 2007.
DrSophiayin.com. Efficacy of a remote-controlled, positive-reinforcement, dog-training system for modifying problem behaviors exhibited when people arrive at the door. Drsophiayin.com, 2007. Web 15th April 2013 http://drsophiayin.com/docs/Yinetal2008TT.pdf
Miller, Pat. The Power of Positive Dog Training. Hoboken: John Willey & Sons. 2008.