Some Thoughts on Reward Based Training
Dog training has to be an enjoyable experience for you and loads of fun for your dog.
The training technique that you use should be easy to implement and your dog should respond to your commands quickly and happily.
Correctly applied, reward based training techniques satisfy all these training criteria.
Reward based training gives your dog choices.
When the dog makes the right choice there is an instant reward.
If the dog makes the wrong choice, nothing happens.
No reward, no punishment, no acknowledgement, the exercise is simply repeated.
The dog is left to choose which behaviour yields the most satisfying result.
Generally speaking, dogs love to work and love to please their owners.
It's natural for a dog to co-operate and live without conflict in a family (pack) environment.
Dogs will happily do what you want.
Our job as dog-trainers is to show the dog what behaviour is expected and convince him that it’s worth doing.
Reward based training is extremely effective for teaching a dog the fundamentals of obedience training.
In commencement training, there are no corrections applied because the dog is just starting to learn what behaviour is required.
The dog teaches himself which behaviours achieve 'success' and which behaviours don't.
Common sense tells us that you can't correct a dog when it doesn't know what behaviour is actually required!
A dog's first impression of any activity forms a lifetime memory.
Reward based training shapes correct behaviour from the very first lesson.
As training continues, it stimulates the dog to try harder and with a more positive attitude toward the obedience work.
It keeps the dog happily working and keeps the dog focused on you as the trainer.
Using reward based training, you are creating an 'active' dog, one that has focus on you - you're in control.
There's no confusion for the dog, no conflict or anxiety.
The dog learns to complete the exercises you want by 'trial & error'.
Remember - a lesson that a dog teaches itself, is a lesson learned more deeply and more permanently.
As more advanced levels of training are achieved, things change a bit.
The dog learns there are consequences for 'deliberate disobedience'.
The dog still has choices, but the "black & white" is made much clearer for the dog to ensure he only offers the best behaviour.
Lets be clear, reward based training is not for everybody.
Many people still prefer to use physical lead corrections and strong voice commands to force the dog to be compliant in all aspects of their training program.
Depending on the character of the dog, this method may be successful, but it won't necessarily create a really positive desire in the dog to continue to work happily into the future.
Force training usually creates more problems than it fixes.
Problems such as fear, anxiety and confusion readily appear in force trained dogs.
In dog training creating fear never generates respect for the handler and we need respect from the dog to achieve high levels of success in our training.
Talk to an experienced trainer about reward based training for your dog(s) and see the improvements in performance and attitude that can be achieved with this system.
Remember - a handler always ends up with the dog he deserves !!