Friday, September 13, 2013

Which Training Method Should I Use?

How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond

How Many Methods Are There?

There are several different kinds of training methods to choose from, I will be mentioning the five basic ones here. I will go over each, but I won't go into too much detail since there is plenty of information over the internet or in books on each one.

I did go over some of these methods a bit already in my post How To Train a Dog That Doesn't Like Food or Toys, but we will touch on them again here.

Method #1 : Clicker Training

Clicker Training is using what they call a 'Marker' to mark the exact moment the dog did what you want. The 'marker' promises a reward, usually a treat or a toy. They call it Clicker Training because they use a little device called a Clicker. When your dog does the right behavior, you click and reward.

Clicker Training is a fun training method to use because you learn to enjoy the process and seeing your dog learn things. It's great to see that light bulb go off in their heads and go Oh! I know what you want, Here! Clicker Training can be very effective, especially if you have a food motivated dog.

If you would like to get started or would like to read more on clicker training, check out; Clicking With Your Dog and Click for Joy!.

Method #2 : Treat Training

Treat Training is a lot like the Clicker Training method. Usually people will still mark the behavior, only they will use Good! or Yes! the second the dog does the right thing. There's not much else to say about this method of training. Use treats to reward good behavior and things you see the dog do that you like.

Method #3 : Balanced Training

The Balanced Training method, is a mixture of using treats when the dog does the right thing, and a correction when the dog does the wrong thing. A corrective type collar is usually used, and to give a correction you give a pop or jerk of the leash.

If you choose to do this method with your dog, be sure to use a training collar and not a regular buckle collar. You will harm your dog's neck much more with a regular buckle collar than you would using what they call a 'Prong Collar' or other type of training collar.

Your dog won't care how many times you 'pop' the leash when wearing the regular buckle collar. You'll still have a dog that won't listen. So, use a Training Collar.

Method #4 : Praise and Correction

Praise and Correction training doesn't require using any treats at all. You can use a toy to reward if your dog is toy motivated, but mostly you just use praise and petting. When your dog does the right thing, you reward with praise, petting, a toss of a toy or a game of tug. You can do all, or just do one at a time. So praise one time, petting the next, a toss of the toy for the 3rd time they performed correctly. Mix it up to keep it interesting.

When the dog doesn't do the correct thing, you give them a correction on a Training Collar. There are many different types of training collars, though the ones I've found to be the easiest on the dog's neck and give the best results are the Herm Springer Prong Collars.

The best program I've found for this type of training, and is well worth your money is Don Sullivan's "Secrets to Traning the Perfect Dog" (LARGE DOG) w Fun Fetch Training Ball

Method #5 : Remote Collar Training

Remote Collar Training can be an excellent method to use when used properly. A Remote Collar should never be used to hurt the dog and if used properly should not hurt the dog at all during training.

You should first find the proper level to use with the dog, most dogs work well at level 1 or 2. Both of these levels don't hurt at all. I know because I've tried it on myself. It feels like a small tapping feeling. It doesn't shock at all. Now if you turn it up, yes it hurts! You should not have a reason to turn it up though. The only time I've seen it needed was in schutzhund training when the dog gets so excited and high in drive that it doesn't feel anything, or during rattlesnake training to train a dog to stay away from them.

Be sure you know how to properly use the remote collar. Get a professional to help you, and watch the videos that should come with your collar.

Remote Collar training will help you get a very reliable dog off leash much faster than any of the other methods. Dogs can become collar smart though, so be sure to let them start wearing the collar days or even a week or two before you begin your training with it. Let them wear it while you're not training. Train and let them wear it, but don't use the remote and get them to listen in other ways. Mix it up. This will result in a dog that listens weather wearing the collar or not.

Or, let them wear it all the time (except at night and when unsupervised), make sure they get a break from it every day to protect their neck from getting sores. The longer they wear it and always have to listen, the better chance of 're-programing' their brains. So it makes things automatic where they don't think about what you've asked at all. This way, when you take the collar off, they just do it no matter what. They've been doing it for so long, they just know exactly what to do.

To sum this up, there are several training methods you can use with your dog, and some I didn't get to mention. Which one should you use with your dog? The one that works best for you and your dog! Some dogs do best with positive reinforcement training. Other dogs could care less since they don't like food or toys and do best with the correction based training or remote collar training. You know your dog best, use what works for both of you.

Don't let other people talk down to you or make you feel guilty for not using positive reinforcement training. There are a lot of these people out there. It's Okay not to use reward based training methods! All methods are effective, and the important part is to have a well behaved dog. A dog that you are happy with and enjoy!

Happy Training!

Image Credit: Kinjengsubmiter @ Flickr

Amy @ Talented K9


  1. Excellent! it is very useful post and tips for puppy training. How to train your puppies is a question asked by almost all dog owners. It seems everyone has advice and tips, and opinions on the best way to train your puppies.

    Puppies learn very fast with proper training. The primary few days at home are very important for puppies and the examples you set now will last a life span. Following these basic techniques as soon as you bring your puppy home will make sure a positive housetraining experience for you and your puppy:-

    * Ensure you give your dog lots of consideration and attention when he’s doing the right and good thing. Praise him plentifully when he’s been a good boy.

    * There is nothing intrinsically incorrect with telling your dog “no,” it’s just that it doesn’t give him sufficient information. Instead of “no,” instruct him what you want him to do.

    * Give your puppy recurrent admission to his toilet area for preventing soiling inside house. Reward the puppy for do so - give a special treat.

    * Nourish your puppy with 2 – 3 meals per day. Leave food out for 15-20 minutes then take away the leftover food. Never leave food out for puppy to eat at will. This helps you find out when she’ll have to go potty.

    * Let your new puppy steadily earn freedom all through your home. So, close off doors to vacant rooms and use baby gates to segment off parts of the house, if

    1. Thank you for your comment :) We go over Bringing Home A New Puppy here too. Thanks for the added information.

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