I have a lot of people who talk to me about trainig and were filled with information about training and didn't know what they had started on or how to cotinue.
This post today will outline the different styles of training and the limtations as well as the strengths and a few terms.
Training dog in America was originally marked by military dog trainers and in particular William Kholer. On the other side of the beginning of a different do training style we have Marian and Keller Breland.
Kholer was a great dog trainer and he employed the use of choke chains and leashes as the foundation of his training. His book can be found under The Kholer Method of dog training and is still the cornerstone of military style of training.
The Brelands used treats and clickers to train animals. They studied under B.F.Skinner and later started a school called Animal Behaviour Enterprises in wich they trained chickens to ensure that people understood their method and how to use it for dogs. This is some of the origins for stryles used at places such as BigBoxSmart.
Training has taken some very important people on both sides that shaped it into what it is now. Barbara Woodhouse and Karen Pryor to name a few. They either ran paralell to or explained more in depth earlier ideas.
Prong or pinch collars are a tool that has since replaced the choke chain just as manufactured treats have replaced raw meat originally used in treat training. Positive reinforcement is now the term used for treat training and Operant conditioning is usally used for leash and collar. A third type of training has been in use for many years called modeling and it will also be explained breifly but retains it's earlier name.
First I will explain the limitaions. These do not apply to every dog or every person.
When you are using Positive reinforcement you will never tell a dog no or withhold from the dog anything. You will mark a behaviour as only positive and wait out the negative. Without being extremely dedicated this method can get pretty hairy on its own as the owner has to really understand the nuances to make a behavior end. Also it can take your dog a very long time to advance.
Operant conditioning is limited to only controlling your animal with a leash and collar or electric collar and never off leash or without stimulation. This leads people to rely too heavily on the collar for all of their communications with the dog and can be hard on a dog without proper use.
Modeling is using your hands to "sculpt" a dog into position repeatedly while telling them the command and holding them there. This method can take a very long time and will be very hard to use on a dog that is excitable.
The positives are just as varied.
Modleing allows you to put a dog in extraordinary positions wich they will hold for as long as you will tell them. A classic example is Lassie.
Positive reinforcement allows you to teach a dog to think through problems and can lead to fantastic tricks in a very short time. An example would be Eddie on Frazier.
Operant conditioning allows you to start control of a dog when you first begin training and shows immediate results. A famous example is Rin Tin Tin.
I use any form of training a customer wants but if I reach a limitation and need to I can switch tactics or blend them together. As always let me know if you have any questions and I will be glad to answer them.
professional dog trainer with Artisan
Lexington / Nicholasville
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Adam Madore is a dog trainer with a passion for training and dogs in general.