Dog Training Techniques Have Improved over the Past Decades!
20-30 years ago people used to think of dog training as a training class, which they literally would have to drag their dog into. Classes were generally not fun for either the dog or the owners. The reason was that in the 70’s and 80’s people were still predominately using compulsion training. Compulsion training (unfortunately still used sometimes today) is where you use fear, intimidation and even pain to “make” your dog obey. Choke collars, prong collars, throw chains, electric shock collars and even hitting the dog are the predominate tools. The area of influence that the owner has over the dog is also very limited. If you ask the dog to lie down and he feels he is within your correction range he will generally (but often reluctantly) obey, but if he is 30 yards away or further, he generally will not. Most often dogs trained through compulsion techniques have a terrible attitude and are not reliable.
So what is the best way to train your dog? Using both a positive motivational and instinctual approach seems to work best. By teaching your dog using a reward base training (treat, ball or tug toy as a reinforcer and lots of praise) the dog learns from the beginning that training is fun and enjoyable. Your area of influence is also unlimited. Of course your dog will obey you at 50 yards away….he many times gets wonderful things when he does. Now many people seem reluctant to use treats as they think the dog only obeys because of a cookie in your hand. This may be true if done incorrectly. Using different reinforcement schedules works amazingly well. You don’t always win at the slot machine, but you do continue to play!
Using your dog’s natural drives and instincts is also very important when training. For example, using your dog’s prey (chase) instinct can work to your advantage when teaching your dog to come when called. If you run away when you call him, it activates his prey drive and he will run after you, making the recall more reliable, fast and even fun.