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The Principles Behind Training a Dog

Jun 23, 2008
Naturally, every pet owner would like their dogs to behave and learn obedience so they train their dogs either with the help of a handler or just by themselves. Unfortunately, not all pet trainings can be thought of as successful. Most of the time training fails because there are some things that may have been overlooked. Let's talk about dog training and the things involved with it.

To train your dog, there are methods or techniques involved. Once just doesn't act like he's the boss for your dog to obey. Common sense dictates that the understanding of pets and owner are very far apart, so don't expect your pet to obey you especially in the beginning.

So what do you do to make your pet obey? First, you need to have an understanding of the principles of training your dog. What are these principles? Basically, there are three principles behind dog training and these are reinforcement, punishment and extinction.

With reinforcement, this is about the dog's reaction to the trainer where behavior either becomes better or worst by means of specific actions. To further discuss what reinforcement is all about, let's categorize this into 2 types namely: positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is about giving rewards or praise. If your dog behaves or obeys you, then you reward or praise your pet. This good behavior remains because the dog understands it will be rewarded for as long as it obeys or behaves. While Negative reinforcement is where the trainer removes an unpleasant situation to make the dog obey, for example if you want to teach the dog to sit, you put pressure on the collar and release the pressure once the dog obeys you.

Another principle that is used in dog training is the punishment principle. This is can be about positive punishment or the negative punishment. Positive punishment is where the trainer does something unpleasant and the dog's negative behavior decreases. While on the other hand, negative punishment is about taking away something that the dog really likes or enjoys and the behavior is diminished or eliminated.

The third principle is about total elimination of a behavior. This is when behavior is not reinforced resulting to its extinction or elimination. For example, your dog is a constant whiner so you allow it to go outside but this time you have changed, your technique so even if the dog continues to whine a lot it is not allowed to go out anymore. Eventually the dog will learn that whining will do him no good so it stops.

For most dog handlers, they believe that positive reinforcement is the best way to train a dog. Yes, it may be for some but this might not work for the others. So before taking on any of the principles discussed, it is still better to have an assessment of your dog's behavior prior to any training. In this way, you will know which of the principles would give you the best chance of success when it comes to training your dog.
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