All the information you will need to be a happy dog and owner!
This website tells about our experience with dogs as well as containing a collection of useful information gathered from the internet. We hope it will give you answers to any questions you may have as an existing or future dog owner
BEFORE YOU START TO TRAIN YOUR DOG…
Many dog owners wonder whether to train a dog or not. If you decide it’s worth it, the question arises – how? With assistance from a coach? By force or treats? Think about choosing an appropriate way of dealing with your pet. Before you sign up for a course, you should look at the methods used:
Consider how the dog learns, four things may happen:
Something good can begin
Something good can come to an end
Something bad can begin
Something bad may be over
Positive training is based on the first two.
Aversive training is based on the last two.
Positive training (based on positive reinforcement). This method is based on motivating your dog by reward. The dog starts to try to get what it wants (we are all progressing through life that way). When the dog sits – it will get a prize (such as a treat, or contact with the owner).
This makes the dog think :
“sitting is nice”
“I love to sit down”
“If I do not sit down, I will lose coveted prize”.
A major advantage of this method is that it does not cause side effects (like aversive training) and is great fun, which strengthens the bond between the dog and the owner. It motivates the dog to think. It makes dogs learn willingly and quickly. You can also start this training from a very young puppy.
We can teach the dog to obey a command to go in a certain direction by beating it with a stick when it goes in the wrong direction. We can also reward the dog when it manages to go in the right direction, and ignore it when it goes wrong. Both methods will work eventually, but the attitude of the dog to the executed command, and to the training, will be completely different. Often dog owners opt for training only when their pet begins to cause them trouble. In such situations, aversive methods only worsen the matter.
Aversive training (based on negative reinforcement). This method is avoidance: the dog must do something to avoid unpleasantness, such as jerking its collar. In the human world this could be compared to non-payment of employee salaries or electric shocks if someone does not want to work. Who wants to live like that? The use of aversive stimulation can cause unpredictable side effects such as excessive anxiety or aggression towards dogs, people or even the owner. Aversive stimulation is extremely stressful for a dog. Individual dogs can tolerate different amounts of stress and aversive stimulation. Some abolish it, adapting to the situation, but often at the same time developing pathological behaviour and lack of willingness to learn (usually dogs do not tolerate the training site). Others will simply defend and behave aggressively and unfortunately these dogs are often put to sleep.
For information on why you should not use violence against dogs, I could write a lot, but instead I am going to cite Jean Donaldson in an excerpt from the book “The Culture Clash”:
“While they are around, you sit quietly, staring straight ahead. Because they witness this good behaviour you are so obviously capable of, they attribute to “spite” the video watching and other transgressions that occur when you are alone. Obviously you resent being left alone, they figure. You are walked several times a day and left crossword-puzzle books to do. You have neverused them because you hate crosswords; the Gorns think you’re ignoring them out of revenge.
Worst of all, you like them. They are, after all, often nice to you. But when you smile at them, they punish you, likewise for shaking hands. If you apologise they punish you again. You have not seen another human since you were a small child. When you see one on the street you are curious, excited and sometimes afraid. You really don’t know how to act. So, the Gorn you live with keeps you away from other humans. Your social skills never develop.
Finally, you are brought to training school. A large part of the training consists of having your air briefly cut off by a metal chain around your neck. They are sure you understand every squeak and telepathic communication they make because you sometimes get it right. You are guessing and hate the training. You feel stressed out a lot of the time. One day, you see a Gorn approaching with the training collar in hand. You have PMS, a sore neck and you just don’t feel up to the baffling coercion about to ensue. You tell them in your sternest voice to please leave you alone and go away. The Gorns are shocked by this unprovoked aggressive behaviour. They thought you had a good temperament.
They put you in one of their vehicles and take you for a drive. You watch the attractive planetary landscape going by and wonder where you are going. The vehicle stops and you are led into a building filled with the smell of human sweat and excrement. Humans are everywhere in small cages. Some are nervous, some depressed, most watch the goings on from their prisons. Your Gorns, with whom you have lived your entire life, hand you over to strangers who drag you to a small room. You are terrified and yell for your Gorn family to help you. They turn and walk out the door of the building. You are held down and given a lethal injection. It is, after all, the humane way to do it.
This nightmarish world is the one inhabited by many domestic dogs all the time. Virtually all natural dog behaviours—chewing, barking, rough play, chasing moving objects, eating food items within reach, jumping up to access faces, settling disputes with threat displays, establishing contact with strange dogs, guarding resources, leaning into steady pressure against their necks, urinating on porous surfaces like carpets, defending themselves from perceived threat—are considered by humans to be behaviour problems. The rules that seem so obvious to us make absolutely no sense to dogs. They are not humans in dog suits.”
Training methods are subject to a process of evolution. Before World War I they were mostly based on patience and rewards. In times of war, military drill and discipline dominated this field for many years. In the 70s aversive method was very common. The 80s mastered the “dominance theory”, which assumes that the dog is a direct descendant of the wolf. The first theory of dominance was called “Hard”, based on belief that you need to dominate your dog by force, for example, pinning him to the ground and letting him go only if he stops defending and “understands” that man is stronger and he’s the boss. Later, the theory was called “Paperback” saying that you need to become the “alpha dog” by performing actions that are carried out by the wolf-leader.
This assumption was based on the observation of artificially created flocks of wolves in captivity, not a natural environment for them, so in many cases they were wrong. The process of domestication has made the behaviour of dogs change dramatically over the centuries and significantly deviate from the patterns of behaviour of wolves. Currently, it is believed that they are two different species of common ancestry. In the 90s new methods for the analysis of behaviour were developed which have become popular and which involve a knowledge of the psychology of learning. The resulting methods of training involve positive reinforcement, which enjoy great acclaim throughout the world.