How do dogs learn?
If dogs do something that brings a reward, it increases the possibility that they will do it again. Every moment we spend with our dogs is a learning opportunity.
When puppies are born they do not know how to behave in every situation they meet. In order to adapt and survive they are equipped with the ability to learn and throughout their life they will make use of their experiences to develop a range of behavioural responses. Owners often find some behaviours ‘cute’ or funny in a puppy but once it matures that behaviour can become a problem. Jumping up to greet you can be cute in a puppy but not so good in an adult dog.
So why train your dog?
To help build and maintain the bond between you and your dog
To improve communication with your dog
To help your dog become more confident and resilient
To keep your dog and others safe
To allow your dog to be part of your daily life
To be a responsible dog owner
To have fun with your dog
For all dogs, whatever breed, if their needs are not met they will attempt to find their own outlet for whatever behaviour they need to show. It is not just physical needs that must be met but also emotional needs. We must consider the emotional needs of each individual dog. Check out our services here.
If you looked up on the internet how to solve a behaviour problem you would find the range of options consisted of different types of punishment. Worryingly, there are all kinds of discussions about which implements to use (throw chains, keys, booby traps, sprays, one’s hands), where on the dog’s body to strike him (on the muzzle, the backside, under the chin so he doesn't see it coming, on the part of his body that committed the “crime”), and what sort of collar to put around the dog’s neck in order to deliver pain or a correction efficiently.
Punishment does not teach a dog what he should be doing instead. If you are using punishment methods to train your dog, he may become fearful, distrustful, or aggressive, which will only lead to more behaviour problems. Never use physical punishment that involves some level of discomfort or pain, which may cause your dog to bite to defend itself or become distrustful of you.
C- Calm – we encourage calm so that dogs will be able to concentrate, learn, think and feel good
C – Connection – we need to build up a connection with the dog's handler when out on walks to help them feel safe
C – Choices – choices can be as simple as “choosing” to calm, “choosing to sit” and not jump etc. When we use cues for various behaviours, it may briefly manage them, but it does not feel as good as when a dog “chooses” to calm. Also, when we ask for a Sit or other behaviours using verbal cues, the dogs often use up their tiny bit of self-control doing them and then “explode” and can often believe we are “joining” in.
C - Consistency - we must be consistent in what we do with our dogs to avoid confusion.
C – Confidence – once we have calm, connection and use fewer verbal cues, their confidence grows, and they are then ready to learn