Dog training by definition is the practice of imparting skills and molding the behavior of a dog. Canine training is comprehensive and consists of many ‘sub-types’ of training, such as crate training, on leash training and off leash training, dog obedience training, command training, etc. Training is a must when the dog is a puppy, because this is when it imbibes certain traits, develops habits, learns things faster, and takes in everything from its immediate environment. Old dog training can be a very challenging process, since such animals are already set in their ways, and it can be very difficult to make them break their habits and have them learn everything from scratch.
Types of training
There are various training stages involved in dog training, namely:
Basic dog training mostly equates to teaching a canine to behave on cue. An owner who is conducting basic training must remember that dogs rely more on scent, sight, facial expressions, body language, and the tone of voice rather than on verbal communication. Therefore, ‘human’ communication with a dog can only go so far in efficient training. However, as a general rule of thumb, the recommended dog training approach is to reward positive behavior and ignore bad behavior.
Basic dog training involves toilet training and teaching a pooch some common dog commands like the following:
Leave it command
The most effective way to make a dog adopt good behavior is to use and reinforce the several techniques that have been taught to the dog, one at a time. Since not many pet owners are proficient in training, they rely on expert trainers to handle their pets. This can be beneficial, since such dog training courses or classes can help the dog socialize with other pets and get used to different people and environments.
‘What age do I start training my dog?’ is a common question asked by many pet owners, and most basic training experts state that 3-6 months is the ideal time to enroll a puppy in dog training courses. However, several trainers acquaint a puppy with dog training as early as 8 weeks and start with house training. By regularly enforcing certain rules, trainers can get a puppy accustomed to a crate or litter box relatively quicker.
Although a majority of dog lovers and trainers use the positive reinforcement technique of rewarding good behavior and ignoring bad behavior, there are many who believe that observing corrections as a form of punishment is a more effective approach to basic training. These corrections may be along the lines of withdrawing a reward in the case of a prior bad behavior or ‘leash corrections’. It is a must to use corrections to only do away with bad behavior, and use rewards only for good behavior so that it can be encouraged.
Advanced dog training, like the name suggests is a complex form of training that is only suited for dogs that have been familiarized with basic training. Dog owners whose pets are show dogs, seeing-eye dogs, etc. often undertake advanced training to inculcate special skills in their canines. These may include training the dog to recognize and obey silent commands, observe and adhere to long-distance commands, search for particular items, jump over obstacles, perform tricks, and pick up advanced commands like ‘shake hands’, ‘go to bed’, ‘leave it’, etc.
Specialized training is focused on a particular objective and is mostly followed in the case of working dog breeds that perform specific tasks. This form of training is apt for search and rescue dogs, guard dogs, assistance dogs, police and sniffer dogs, and herding dogs. Specialized training takes into consideration the breed of the dog and builds upon its strengths to make it perform a desired task. For instance, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and Rottweiler’s make for excellent military dogs, while Labrador Retrievers are a popular choice as sniffer dogs. Similarly, Cocker Spaniels are commonly used to detect termites owing to their keen sense of smell and small size which allows them to go into tight spaces.
Guard dog training is undertaken for dogs whose purpose is to protect the property or family and is mostly conducted by experts or those who aren’t new to dog training, since it involves teaching a dog when to attack or restrain an intruder and when to let go or ‘back off’, which is not an easy lesson to impart.
Apart from basic, advanced, and specialized training, individualized dog training is also taken up by those whose dogs have a unique problem with their pet, such as aggressive behavior, hyperactivity, biting, excessive digging and barking, separation anxiety, etc. This method seeks to identify the root cause of the behavioral problem and rectify it, mostly in the place where the said problem occurs most often.
Jessie Suarez, the creator of " Talking Dog DVD Traing Series "