Positive Reinforcement Dog Training Vs Traditional Methods – Which is Better?
While you may find it challenging to train your pet puppy, it is possible to do it with the appropriate methods. The article below compares and contrasts positive reinforcement training for canines with more conventional approaches.
To assist you choose the best option for your dog, we’ll examine the differences between the two and highlight their benefits and drawbacks. So come along as we investigate how you might strengthen your relationship with your canine companion through the use of positive reinforcement training.
The dream of every dog owner is to have a polite and well-mannered pet. The modern dog or puppy owner may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of available options.
For a first-time dog owner, the “tried and true” charm of conventional dog training methods might be very enticing.
Positive reinforcement tactics (which commonly incorporate praise, food, and sometimes clickers, head collars, or no leash at all) can seem daunting and even risky to a new dog owner.
How can you choose which method of dog training will yield the desired results for you and Fido? Don’t leave me now.
It’s possible that you’ll have to forget anything you taught about dog training from your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even breed literature if you want to train your dog in a more progressive manner.
When you had a dog before, you probably used the standard methods of dog training. This usually entails giving the dog a hard “jerk” on the collar with the leash whenever it acts badly.
To increase the strategy’s impact, try switching out the “jerk” for a “choke” if a prong collar is used, or a “shock” if an electronic collar utilized.
When both of the following conditions are met, training of this kind can be very effective:
The “jerk,” choke, or shock is provided at the precise moment of the offence or undesirable conduct, and it is severe enough to be an effective deterrent.
The fundamental issue here is that human beings aren’t always ideal, making it difficult for us to time the delivery of the unpleasant consequence (the “jerk”) effectively.
And there’s a huge range in human strength. Thus, although a healthy guy of 200 pounds may typically apply a jerk with sufficient vigour for it to be successful, a healthy tiny lady may not be able to do so.
If you don’t give the dog a good, solid yank at just the right time or if you don’t have enough strength, the dog could not learn his lesson.
This is more of a painful and perplexing experience than a learning one. Over time, a dog who has been “jerked” or “choked” during training may learn that walking on a leash is unpleasant and that his owner cannot be trusted.
Another issue is that even the strongest and most time-savvy folks may be expecting too much of a smaller dog. Consider taking your 6-month-old Lab for his first “heel” lesson; up until this point, he’s only left the safety of your yard for veterinary checkups.
He may even tangle you up in the leash as he pulls wildly in every way. On the other hand, he may be too afraid of the “outdoors” to cooperate with your attempts to teach him to walk politely by your side. How do you spend your time?
Expecting a flawless heel from this Lab will likely result in you giving him your precisely timed and efficient “jerk” on a near-constant basis.
When the unfortunate dog finally gets out for a stroll, all he learns is that being walked on a leash is excruciating.
Because what an individual dog is genuinely capable of at any given moment, day, amount of distraction, etc., most first-time dog owners have no idea how to tell the difference between a minor infraction and a serious one.
Last but not least, a puppy’s neck is particularly vulnerable to injury while it is under six months old, thus a choke or hook collar should be avoided. The dog’s head must be strong enough to endure the jerks, so conventional training usually can’t begin until he’s at least 6 months old.
And as every dog owner knows, a six-month-old untrained dog has already acquired a wide variety of undesirable behaviors, such as yanking on the leash, jumping up on people, barking for attention, disobeying “sit” and “stay” instructions, biting on you or your furniture, and a lot more.
If you wait until your dog is six months old to start training him, you’re much more likely to have to use harsh punishments to break him of negative habits.
In positive reinforcement training, the learner is shown that certain actions bring about desirable outcomes while others have no effect. Note that I didn’t say “dog”; positive reinforcement training may be used on humans as well as animals.
The sun’s rays encourage plant growth, for crying out loud! Whether you’re using a clicker, a halter, or a pleased “Excellent girl” to indicate good behavior, food is generally used as the primary positive consequence in the first stages of training using this approach.
When the dog has reached the desired degree of success and the owner is pleased with his or her conduct, the food penalty is removed, leaving just praise, vocal orders, and/or hand signals.
Why is it better to train a dog using positive reinforcement?
The first thing is that you can begin positive reinforcement training the same day you get your puppy home. All puppies can handle being fed and praised.
There are many positive things a young puppy accomplishes as he wanders through his day, and a knowledgeable dog owner may swiftly and effectively reinforce these actions by naming them and rewarding the dog.
Waiting until his neck is strong enough to withstand the strain of jerk and pull exercise is unnecessary. How does it stack up against letting a puppy go berserk for a few months before smacking him across the head for his misbehavior?
Isn’t it wonderful when a puppy of six months old is fully trained, and much better when the puppy enjoys training and has full faith in his owner?
In contrast, positive reinforcement dog training remains your best chance if you suddenly find yourself the proud owner of a wholly untrained adult dog, say 4 years old. Though early intervention and positive reinforcement training yield the best results, it is not too late to get started.
Second, if you’re only delivering food, you don’t have to worry about being on time all the time. Positive reinforcement dog trainers use something called a “variable schedule of reinforcement” that has been shown to be more successful than a set timetable for giving rewards. So it turns out that being late is an asset!
Positive reinforcement dog training is fantastic because it teaches dogs of all ages (even those as young as six months) to focus despite distractions.
In your opinion, which dog is more likely to “follow” commands? They are the dog on the crowded sidewalk who continues hearing his owner remark “excellent sit!” while the choke chain is dragged up, and the dog who has his liver snapped in front of his nose.
Moreover, the relationship between dog and owner is substantially improved because positive reinforcement training calls for nothing more than trust and enjoyment.
If you and your dog establish a strong bond of trust, you won’t have to worry about him betraying you in challenging or novel situations.
This also increases his likelihood of trusting others in general (unless someone in particular is abusive). You won’t need to resort to harsh punishments, and neither will your dog.
This means that your pet won’t have to learn to dread his owner or prepare a defensive strategy of flight or fight.
In conclusion, you can teach a dog using positive reinforcement even if you have a kid, are elderly, or have a disability. There’s none need for strength.
Then why did your parents and their friends have such success with traditional dog training methods? Those rare successful conventional trainers, in my opinion, are also generous with praise and goodies when the dog performs the correct thing.
However, most dogs taught in the conventional manner were (and are still being) put down because they bit people, a predicted response from a dog who has experienced pain from his owner on several occasions.
Keep in mind that many canines were considered more “outdoor” dogs in years past and, as a result, did not need to learn the same level of indoor etiquette as canines today.
Today’s dogs are held to higher standards than ever before, and are expected to get along well with people of different ages, sizes, and dispositions.
To get along with any dog they encounter. (Most dogs weren’t exposed to others their own species until very recently, when services like dog parks and daycare became more widely available.)
To behave well both in home and in public. To alert you to the fact that they must go outside by barking. not to make any noise when they are trying to get inside.
If your dog spends 99 percent of its time in a gated yard, teaching it to walk politely on a leash isn’t a priority. To invite the rowdy toddlers next door to share their meals and playthings. (In bygone eras, it was accepted that a dog would aggressively defend his territory from intruders.)
In conclusion, training your dog using positive reinforcement is efficient and compassionate. It emphasizes rewarding positive behaviors while discouraging negative ones.
Because it enables the trainer to forge a stronger bond with their canine partner, this method of training has been shown to be more effective than conventional ones.
The establishment of trust between the pet and the owner through positive reinforcement training also contributes to a long-term happier and healthier relationship.