How do dogs learn?
Dogs learn through rewards and experiences, so every interaction with them is a learning opportunity. Puppies rely on learning to adapt and survive, and their behaviors as adults are shaped by their experiences. What may be seen as cute or funny in a puppy can develop into a problem as they mature. It's important for owners to guide and train their dogs to ensure appropriate behaviours as they grow.
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
It is important to understand that all dogs have emotional needs that must be met in addition to their physical needs. Punishment-based methods of training can lead to fear, distrust, and aggression in dogs, ultimately exacerbating behaviour problems. Instead of using punishment, it is more effective and kinder to focus on positive reinforcement and teaching the dog what behaviours are desirable. Understanding and meeting a dog's emotional needs is essential for their well-being and behaviour.
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