Dog Training Techniques: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly [4 Head Start Techniques – Unique Dog Training Advice]!

Dog Training Systems

Last Updated on April 20, 2023 by Kunthida

Dog Training Techniques
Dog Training Techniques

The following dog training techniques are based on the Operant Conditioning Theory of Dog Training that uses conditioning methods to influence a dog’s behavior.

They can be of help for managing problem behaviors such as barking, jumping up on people, chewing, digging, etc., but they are often controversial and are one of the many dog obedience training theories.

The 4 Dog Training Techniques

There are 4 important techniques to dog training (as in other forms of education):

Positive Reinforcement

“Positive”, in this case, means that something is given to the dog.

Positive ReinforcementThis involves rewarding desirable behaviors. It includes teaching commands that control unwanted behaviors.

For example, if you want the dog to obey your command to sit, first give him the order in a clear, authoritative voice: “SIT!”

At the same time, you will raise your arm above him with a treat in hand. The animal will be focused on the food, but he will only receive it when he actually sits.

This exercise should be repeated until the dog has learned the desired behavior that must follow the command “sit”.

Gradually, however, the treat will have to be removed and replaced by verbal appreciation such as “good boy” or “well done”, etc… Further reinforcement of the words can come from a pat and a cuddle.

This dog training method is pretty controversial… To learn more about the pros and cons of positive reinforcement training you can read the following post by Doggy Dan, the author of the  DogCalming Code™.

Click here to learn more about this highly effective dog training method! 

dog training - the dog calming code

Positive Punishment

“Positive”, in this case also, means that something is given to the dog.

This is generally simply called “punishment”. This means using negative stimuli to correct undesirable actions and behaviors. This includes aversive conditioning – which uses punishment or other non-rewarding methods to teach dogs new behaviors. Another name for this dog training technique is aversive-based training. It’s called so because of the addition of an aversive stimulus.

This type of punishment involves habituating the dog to a negative consequence when it engages in undesirable behavior. This “should” make it rather unlikely that the behavior will be repeated.

To give an example of positive reinforcement, let’s imagine a dog pulling wildly on the leash and you yelling at him in a mean voice to stop. Here we have a peremptory order that you are giving to your dog, i. e. you give something to the dog. This action is also called “correction” in everyday language.

Negative Reinforcement

“Negative”, in this case, means that something is taken from the dog. The essence of this technique is to remove something from the dog to make a behavior increase.

For example, pressure is put on the dog’s bottom while giving him the command “sit”. You do this to force him to sit and when he has carried out the order, simply the pressure is removed.

As already mentioned this is negative reinforcement as you remove something that the dog probably does not like.

Another example would be to take off the leash during a walk when the dog is behaving well and walking quietly by your side, never pulling

Negative Punishment

“Negative”, in this case also, means that something is taken from the dog. This is often referred to as “penalty”. It’s a temporary limitation that will be removed when the desired behavior takes place.

For example, if you are calling your dog and he ignores you, you might turn away and ignore him in turn for a while. This will worry the dog who will be afraid of losing your attention, especially if he really loves the treats you give him from time to time.

This is a classic technique of negative punishment: hopefully, the dog will remember that his behavior isn’t any good because it takes your attention (and care) away from him…

The Good Part of Dog Training

The good part of dog training is positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is when you reward your dog by giving him something he likes for doing what you want him to do, like sitting quietly while eating his dinner.

For example, if you’re at home, and your dog does sit quietly, then give him some food from time to time. When he sits down again, don’t just keep feeding him; praise him! Reward him every time he behaves well so he’ll associate being fed with behaving properly. And this will make the dog training successful.

The Ugly Part of Dog Training

The ugliest part of dog training is punishment. Punishment is when you punish your dog by hitting him hard with a stick, slapping him, yelling at him, or spanking him. If you hit your dog too much, it may hurt him physically, especially if he doesn’t understand why you have done it.

Instead of treating your dog too badly, try some milder form of punishment, for example by taking away his favorite toy or food bowl because he knows these things mean “no fun” for him, and he won’t want them anymore.

Or maybe you could get a remote-controlled car instead of a normal one. You’d still love to play with your dog, but now there would be no chance of hurting her. That way, she wouldn’t feel punished.

Another thing you can do is to go out without bringing your pet with you for the usual stroll. Remember, though. It isn’t fair to punish your dog all the time without reason. Try to think about whether your dog has been naughty before choosing how you deal with him. Since if you fail to observe these, it will lead to dog training problems.

The Good and the Ugly (Combined)

Combining the good and the ugly parts of dog training makes them more powerful than ever. We need to mix between the two techniques, i.e., punishment + rewards. There must always be a balance between the two elements. A combination of punishments and rewards works best since it teaches your dog what you expect from him and gives him the motivation to behave accordingly.

How the good trumps the bad and the ugly, or vice versa.

Here, Rewards work better than punishments most times, simply because they motivate your dog to learn quickly. However, sometimes it is necessary to apply mild punishments (not harmful or painful!)  to prevent further misbehaviors.

To achieve proper dog training results, you need to know which technique to use in each situation. Also, remember that even though punishment is effective, it shouldn’t be implemented indiscriminately. Use it only when you find out that the dog hasn’t learned anything else yet.

Dog Training Techniques – Conclusion

In conclusion, Dog training is a great way to educate your dogs; however, it can be very frustrating for you and them if they are not trained properly. Every owner must know what they should look out for to avoid the most common mistakes.

You may also want to consider some basic tips on how to make sure things go smoothly when training your new dog. If all goes well, there shouldn’t be any major issues at the end of this process. Click on the banner below to watch some free videos:

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