Dog Training Methods
There are several different types of popular dog training methods floating around these days. It can feel quite confusing and overwhelming for clients when they are looking to hire a professional.
Let’s breakdown a few popular dog training methods for you.
Clicker Training / Marker Based Training
Clicker training and marker training follows the same concepts as positive reinforcement and science based training and is based on operant conditioning. Rather than being considered a separate type of training, clicker training can be classified as a form of positive reinforcement. It uses a device that makes a noise or a verbal word, such as yes, to communicate to a dog when a desired behaviour is achieved.
Science Based Training
It's difficult to establish an overall approach for science-based dog training because it's so broad. Many of the techniques employed in scientific dog training are also used in other types of training.
The majority of the time, operant conditioning is used, which consists mostly of positive reward and, less frequently, some forms of punishment.
Positive Reinforcement Based Training
It's a concept with a fairly simple philosophy behind it. When a reward is given, dogs will repeat the behaviour. Bad behaviour is not rewarded or acknowledged in any way. If a correction is required, it will take the form of the withdrawal of a reward, such as a toy or treat. Harsh rebukes or physical punishments aren't required.
These methodology is amazing for teaching behaviours. It is the most widely used training method in the industry, and the concept is used by the majority of dog trainers.
Alpha or Dominance Based Training
Alpha dog or dominance training relies on a dog’s instinctual pack mentality to create a relationship of submission and dominance. This methodology normally utilizes punishment based training methods, such as the “alpha roll” . The concept is that dogs see us as either the submissive or the dominant pack member. It relies heavily on the alliance between dog and handler, by presuming every dog is attempting to “be the leader” of the house.
Relationship Based Dog Training
Relationship Based Dog Training combines several different training methods and focuses on a more individualized approach to training, which relies more on teaching than training. This training method usually consists of controlling the dogs learning environment, with a focus on how the dog is feeling emotionally.
How We Train
"The reality is, there is no one size fits all in dog training." - Cher Wood
Cher Wood, the owner and operator of the company, grew up in a more compulsive based training environment. This was the “norm” 30+ years ago in the dog world, especially in the dog show world. Being raised in a dog breeding/showing business, this was the way we were taught to do things. Many things have changed over the years and there is now and even better understanding on how dogs learn.
The reality is, there is no one size fits all in the dog training world. Simply because of dogs learning environments and clients expectations.
For example, in some circumstances, it is not only unrealistic, but unsafe to tell a client to ignore bad behaviours. Therefore sticking to a purely positive reinforcement strategy cannot always be accomplished.
That being said, we rely heavily on positive reinforcement and marker training in all of our dog training programs. The goal is to teach first and train later, while maintaining realistic expectations and limitations.
We not not believe that all bad behaviour can be ignored and the corrections in dog training can actually speed up learning for the dog and remove stress for the owner.
All that to say, we live in the middle, we believe there is value in all dog training methodologies, while not only taking into account a dogs emotionally well being, but a clients emotional well being.