dog training techniques

3 Most Popular Dog Training Techniques

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There are so many different dog training techniques that are used by owners. Same with parenting children, everyone has their own opinion on what works best for them.

Often times that is right because no one knows your dog or your child better than you do.

There are plenty debates on each technique whether they are useful, cruel or pointless. In this blog posts, I will focus on the most popular 3 of them.

1. Positve Reinforcement

Purely positive reinforcement is a technique used by many dog trainers. It relies exclusively on rewarding good and wanted behavior and acknowledging bad behavior.

There is no kind of physical or harsh punishment involved. You train your dog through positive reinforcement by always rewarding desired behavior with treats, toys, pets or praise.

This is a great way to teach simple commands by continuously repeating exercises and rewarding your dog for them.

Be sure to only use small treats and reduce quantity over time, so your dog won’t become dependant on them.

If your dog shows bad behavior you will “punish” him by depriving your attention, treats or toys for a while.

You have to be extremely consistent with this training because bad behavior can easily evolve.

If your dog is pulling to strangers and you let him be pet this will lead him to learn that pulling gets him to what he wants.

Everyone in your house has to stick to the rules. If your kids are letting him on the beds in their rooms and you usually don’t tolerate that, this will throw your process backward.

This technique takes a lot of time and patience and is often combined with clicker training. Your dog will only slowly understand what punishment means.

2. E-Training

For electronic training, dog owners usually use e-collars that send out shocks by clicking a button.

E-collars are used to punish bad behavior in the second it occurs. This training can be seen as the opposite of purely positive training as it relies on mostly using bad behavior to train a dog and not generally rewarding good behavior.

The problem with electronic training is that it is oftentimes misused by inexperienced dog owners. They tend to turn up the shock level to high which leads is hurting the dog’s sensitive neck.

Many professional dog trainers claim that they have seen great results with the e-collar and that you can use it without harming a dog.

If you cannot train a dog without an e-collar, you should never buy one. It is not a shortcut to a well-trained dog. It is only a tool that can hone certain commands and not a torture device.

Here in Germany prone collars, e-collars and choke collars are banned because so many people cannot handle them.

If you decide you train your dog with an e-collar, he should already be well trained and you should consult a trustful and professional dog trainer on how to use it without hurting your dog.

3. Alpha Training

Also called “dominance training” is all about showing the dog his position in the pack. You may have heard from this technique as Ceasar Milan really popularised it.

As the alpha and pack leader, you have to show your dog that he has subordinate himself in this social hierarchy. This involves methods like eating before your dog, going through doors first or walking in front of your dog outside.

It also includes to never getting on eye level with your dog, forcing him to get up if he is in the way and he is not allowed on furniture like the couch or bed.

In theory, this training reflects the natural instinct and desire of a wolf fitting into his pack. It is all about learning a dog’s body language and reacting accordingly.

But just with the e-collar training, many owners overexaggerate it and always want to dominate their dog. They often use cruel punishments to show who is boss and there is a fine line between being the alpha and the tyrant.

They misunderstand the concept of the wolf as the pack leader. A wolf at the top remains there because he earned their respect. A wolf doesn’t frighten, he doesn’t oppress and never uses his role for bad.

You don’t want your dog to fear you, you want him to respect you. Most of the dominant techniques are outdated and shouldn’t be used anymore.

What technique I am using

Many dog owners think that if you have a powerful and big dog like my Rottweiler you should go with dominating. This is so not true as the size and breed shouldn’t be the factor to decide on the training method.

My dog is very gentle and the most loving dog I have ever seen. She would never understand why she would have to be dominated as she never dominates herself.

The only “dominating” technique I use is to let her sit before she goes out of the door just so that she starts her to walk calmly. I don’t use e-collars because I have no reason for that but I also don’t use purely positive training.

If she behaves badly, I show her with a firm “no” and show her what to do instead. When she was a puppy, depriving my attention of her worked really great. I don’t use clicker training and only occasionally reward with treats.

I believe in building a strong and healthy relationship with your dog. This is the most effective method that is out there.

She can trust me and I can trust her. If you want your dog to listen to you, start listening to him and find out why your communication is not the best.

You can safely see your dog as a family member you don’t have to fear that someday he will fight for the top position if he is trained well.

My Rottweiler should have fun when working with me and should be able to feel safe when I am around.

Dogs show us love in so many ways like I pointed out in this post How to Bond with Your Dog, so when can equally give them something back.

It is all about finding the best technique for your unique situation. What training methods are you implementing? Let me know in the comments.

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