8 Dog Training Methods to Consider for the New Year

The start of a new year is a popular time for people to implement a change. “Out with the old, in with the new,” as the saying goes. This could be new exercise goals, new clothes, new hobbies, anything. So what about a new dog training philosophy? Is it time for new ways to train your dog?

Of course, you don’t need to wait for a new year to change up your dog training techniques. If you’re not having much success with how you currently train your dog, there are plenty of other methods for you to try. The best training for dogs can also be a combination of techniques.

Whether you’re looking for a new dog training philosophy or you have a puppy and you’re looking for a place to start with your puppy training, the options can be overwhelming. There were over 100,000,000 results when we searched “dog training methods.” You probably don’t have enough time in your day to read through all of those options, so we’ve compiled a list of eight popular dog training philosophies.

Basic Dog Training Is Important

No matter what obedience training method you decide to use, it’s important that you do train your dog to follow basic commands. Basic obedience training will make living together more enjoyable and your dog will become more confident. Knowing basic dog commands like “stay” and “come” can also help keep them safe. Think about if your dog was off-leash and running toward a busy road. If they immediately respond to “come” and turn around, it could save their life.

What Are the Best Dog Training Methods?

A black and brown dog sitting in grass looking at its owner.

Ah, this is a tricky question. If we asked ten professional dog trainers “What are the most effective dog training methods?” we would probably get ten different answers. We’d probably get similar results from dog owners, too. It may also be a combination of dog training techniques, not just one. In the end, the best dog training method is the one that works the best for you and your dog, and the one that you’re comfortable with using.

What Are the Most Common Dog Training Techniques?

A small black dog laying down on the ground while its owner is pointing down.

There are many, many dog training methods. They may have different names, but a lot of them include one or more of the training philosophies we have listed below. Of course, this list isn’t all of the techniques that are available to train your dog, but it’s a starting point for you to learn about some of the popular dog training methods that are used.

      1. Classical ConditioningA light brown dog sitting next to a white food bowl.Classical conditioning is at the core of most dog training methods because it’s about your dog learning to associate a reward with an action. You’re probably already using classical conditioning without even realizing it.

        Does your dog wait by the door when you pick up your keys? Do they run into the kitchen when they hear their favorite humans pick up their food bowl? These are examples of your dog learning that when you do a particular action, something good is coming their way.

      2. Operant Conditioning
        A brown dog looking out of a window.
        One of the most popular dog training methods, operant conditioning is based on the idea that if doing a certain behavior results in something good, your dog is likely to keep doing that behavior (positive reinforcement). On the other paw, if doing an unwanted behavior results in something unfavorable (but not harmful or abusive) then they will eventually stop doing that behavior. Something “unfavorable” could be as simple as not giving them attention when you get home until they stop jumping up on you and are sitting calmly.

      3. Positive Reinforcement Training
        A white dog eating a treat out of its owner's fingers.
        The idea behind positive reinforcement is that if your dog is rewarded for good behavior, they will continue to do that behavior. Positive reinforcement is part of operant conditioning but it can also be its own method. When your dog does the desired task, immediately reward them with something they are motivated by, like praise, treats or a toy. The reward can be phased out once your dog reliably responds to the request. Unlike operant conditioning, any bad behavior is not corrected, it’s just ignored.

      4. Clicker Training
        A brown dog looking at its owner that is holding a red clicker.
        Clicker training is often combined with positive reinforcement. It allows for a more immediate signal than a verbal command that the desired behavior was completed and helps your dog understand exactly why they’re being rewarded. Clicker training sessions start with some classical conditioning so your dog learns to associate the clicker with a reward system.

      5. Science-Based Training
        A golden retriever sitting next to its owner who is on her laptop.
        You probably won’t find a clear definition or a set of instructions for performing science-based dog training since the point of this method is that it’s continually being updated with the latest research from animal behaviorists. The goal is to use scientific research on dog behavior and work with your dog to develop the most effective training method that they will respond to. It can combine a number of training philosophies and requires dog parents to stay up-to-date on the latest research on dog behavior.

      6. Model-Rival or Mirror Training
        Three golden retrievers on leashes looking up at their owners while at a park.
        The theory behind these methods is that dogs learn by observing. To use the model-rival method, you will need the help of either a well-behaved dog (possibly a rival) or a well-trained human (kidding, just someone who will follow your directions). The trainee dog watches the model being rewarded for good behaviors and being scolded for unwanted behaviors. The trainee should learn that good behaviors are rewarded. Mirror training is when the pet parent acts as the model and rewards their dog for “mirroring” their good behavior.

      7. Dominance, Alpha Dog or Traditional Dog Training
        Two small dogs looking at a woman holding a tennis ball.
        The idea behind dominance, alpha dog and traditional dog training methods is that dogs follow a pack mentality with a social hierarchy and the pet parent should be seen as the leader of the pack. It helps to understand dog body language when using these methods. It’s important to know that you need to be dominant at all times — your dog should be following your lead and waiting for you.

      8. Relationship-Based Training
        A black, brown, gray and white dog laying on a woman's lap.
        Like the name suggests, relationship-based training focuses on you and your dog and an approach that is specifically for the two of you. You have to really understand your dog to use this method, including your dog’s body language and what motivates them. If they don’t do the desired behavior, you need to take the time to understand why. This method typically includes many of the other philosophies.

Tips for the Best Training Outcomes for Dogs

To help make each training session successful, there are a few things you should consider. For example, what motivates your dog? Are they food-motivated or would they prefer to be rewarded with toys? Is everyone in your household using the same dog training techniques and the same commands? Consistency is important so that your dog doesn’t get confused about what they are being asked to do. It’s also a good idea to keep your training sessions to around five minutes at a time. Short training sessions will help your dog stay focused and prevent both of you from becoming frustrated. Remember that sometimes your dog may not be in the mood for training, and that’s OK, too.

Choose the Dog Training Philosophy That’s the Best for You

The best dog training method is the one that works for both you and your dog. Remember that every dog is different, so while you may have used one method successfully before, training a new dog may need a different approach. Your veterinarian, a professional dog trainer or an animal behaviorist can help you decide on which training program is right for you and your pets, or you could consider joining a dog training class with professional trainers to help you get started.


Source link: https://www.diamondpet.com/blog/behavior/training/8-dog-training-methods-to-consider-for-new-year/ by Content Woodruff at www.diamondpet.com