A Beginner’s Guide to Dog Psychology and Dog Training Techniques
Training your dog is essential not just because it improves their behavior but also because it helps you keep them safe.
Moreover, a well-trained dog is a dog you can take almost anywhere. So, it would also allow you to spend more quality time together. With that in mind, here are some of the most popular dog training techniques and why they work.
How do dogs learn?
Applying psychology to dog training basically implies that you should take into consideration your dog’s personality. Of course, you might not be able to do this if you just got a new dog.
However, their personality will show sooner than you might think. Moreover, professional trainers have come to the conclusion that dogs respond best when they are rewarded instead of punished. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to yell at your dog if they destroy your favorite shoes. Just don’t do it too often.
Too much punishment could lead to fear, and even aggression.
Finally, there’s also the questions of treats; you should use them, but you should also be careful not to overuse them.
If you do, your pet will not actually learn anything – they’ll just be doing whatever it takes to get the treats. So, the best thing to do is to vary the rewards. You can combine the treats with petting your dog and similar, more neutral things.
A great thing about dog psychology is that it’s not that difficult to understand, so you really don’t have to be a professional in order to train your dog right. You just need to adjust to your dog’s personality and have a bit of patience.
There are many dog training techniques, some more popular than the others. However, as mentioned, every dog is different. So, if one technique doesn’t work, it’s good to know that there are other options you can try too.
This technique is pretty simple, as it’s based on rewarding your dog’s positive behavior as soon as it happens.
This way, your dog would associate that behavior with the reward.
However, bad behavior should not be acknowledged in any way.
If the punishment is needed, it should come in the milder form of taking away the dog’s favorite toy or similar. Also, this technique is often combined with the clicker training for better results.
The only challenging part about this technique is consistency – as mentioned, your dog has to be rewarded seconds after doing something right. This means that your whole family should be involved in the training process.
This technique relies on using an electric collar that delivers a tiny shock or vibration when a dog misbehaves. It doesn’t hurt the dog, and the intensity of the shock can easily be adjusted.
It’s usually used for distance training, and it can provide faster results because it gives the dog a clear signal when it does something wrong. For example, it can be useful if you have a large, unfenced yard that you don’t want your dog to leave, as this kind of collar could help you keep your dog within your property’s limits.
If you are considering using this method, there are many great choices on the market, like ET-300 e-collar, for example.
Relationship-based training is a combination of different techniques, but it’s mainly focused on your own relationship with your dog.
It’s about understanding your dog’s personality and needs –what motivates them, what scares them, and what they need in order to do their best.
When your dog fails to perform properly, you should try to figure out why – what distracted them, are they hurt, or are they just tired?
This method is more efficient, effective, and safer in forming a bond with your dog. A relationship-based training with treats, toys, or affection as positive reinforcement will encourage the behaviour that you want. Eventually, if successful, the method can lead to a deeper bond.
When testing different techniques, pay attention to your dog’s personality and reactions in order to determine the right training method.
Don’t overuse the treats, and don’t push your dog if they don’t seem to be in the mood – we all have off days, even dogs.
Finally, regardless of which training method you choose to use, if you are patient and persistent, the results are bound to show, and your bond will be stronger than ever.