You want to adopted a dog, but you do not know which method of training to choose to educate? To help you make your choice, we have listed the main training techniques available, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. As a dog owner, it’s your job to make sure your pet is well-behaved, both for your own safety and that of others!
Note that it is highly recommended to start your puppy’s education as soon as he arrives at home, that is to say from the age of 2 months.
5. Classic Dressage
This method of training is the most widespread. It consists of using the equipment (collar, harness, leash, lanyard) to train the dog. For example, if you want to teach your dog to walk on a leash without pulling, you can start a slight jerk on his leash to bring him back to you. All while telling him “at the foot”.
If he obeys, you will then reward him with a playful intonation, a caress or a treat. If he does not obey, you will have to raise your voice to reprimand him. Be careful, it is not a question of punishing him by force. It’s called abuse and it’s punishable by law.
Strengths: The classic training technique has already proven itself, thanks to its reward system. When practiced on a regular basis (15 minutes per day for example), this method allows the dog to assimilate orders quickly.
Disadvantages: some say that this method is outdated, especially because it is based on the reprimand and physical constraints that cause unpleasant sensations in the dog.
4. The Positive Reinforcement Method
The positive reinforcement method is entirely based on reward. Indeed, this method recommends never to sanction his dog. Thus, if you ask your dog to sit down and obey you, he will be entitled to a reward that he particularly likes. It can be caresses, but also toys and treats that you can find on the veterinary pharmacy and online pet store Medpets. On the other hand, if he does not obey you, he will not be entitled to anything.
Thus, the dog understands very quickly and particularly gently that obedience is the best choice to make if he wants to be rewarded. With this method, the right behaviors are rewarded, and the bad or unwanted behaviors are simply ignored.
Strengths: this method of education does not constrain the dog and is therefore more natural, less stressful for him.
The disadvantages: this method is not suitable for all dogs. For example, it is not suitable for non-greedy and dominants for example. By never knowing when their behavior is bad, they could quickly take the ascendancy on their master. In addition, it can lead to a worsening of bad behavior because ignoring bad behavior can strengthen it. For example, if your dog is pursuing a squirrel and you ignore him and do not make him understand that this behavior is bad, it’s a way to reward him: it amuses him to pursue the squirrels and he has the impression to be entitled to do so. It will then certainly reproduce this behavior in the future. The bad behavior has been reinforced unintentionally.
3. The Clicker Training
Based on packaging, the clicker training method is particularly popular. It consists of associating in the dog’s head the sound of the clicker to a reward. For this, just mark the moment when your dog adopts appropriate behavior. For example, if you ask him to lie down and he obeys, you will click and reward him immediately with a treat. The only difficulty is to click at the right time.
Strengths: The dog is attentive to training and knows that to be rewarded, he must adopt the right behavior. Communication is better between the dog and his master and there is no balance of power.
The disadvantages: the dog does not obey the voice, but the clicker. This can be problematic in everyday life because you will always need to have your clicker with you.
2. Visual training
This method of training, also called leadership, consists of positioning oneself as a pack leader to influence the dog. The master embodies the authority, the example that the dog wants to follow. Thus, the animal will imitate all the behaviors of his master and learn to obey. For example, to teach your dog to lie down, you will need to point your index finger down and lower your hand. You can also use a lure, that is to say put a treat in your hand that you ask at ground level to encourage your dog to lie down naturally.
To make your pet understand that he has adopted the right behavior and that you are happy with him, you can, for example, lift your thumb upwards.
Assets: No accessories are needed to practice this technique, or even your voice. Only gestures matter. It is therefore particularly recommended for dogs who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The disadvantages: this method requires a lot of patience, because without the usual intonations of voice, it takes time to get results. In addition, it is not very interesting if your dog hears, because talking to him is a good way to strengthen ties.
1. The capture method
In order to learn the basic commands to your dog without even realizing it, you can totally educate him with this method. This educational technique consists in rewarding the animal when it spontaneously adopts a good behavior.
For example, you are sitting quietly on your couch when you see your dog lying down on his own. Immediately, tell him “lying down” and give him a treat in the process. After several times, he will have assimilated the order without even knowing it.
Strengths: learning is painless, stress free.
The disadvantages: this method requires to react quickly and to have always with you treats.