Dog Training Techniques

Dogs are awesome but they are not always the easiest to live with. They may be cute but you won’t be swooning when you have to clean up after their potty accidents. They may be goofy and outgoing but it ceases to be endearing when they start misbehaving in public and causing trouble. While there are some dog breeds that are intuitively responsible and easy to live with, all pooches need good quality training.

If you are planning on doing the training yourself, one of the most important strategies to try out is the dog brain training approach. This not only makes training easier but also more successful in the long run. Other strategies with a lot to offer are positive reinforcement and clicker training methods. Let’s take a look at these 3 dog training hacks as well as 6 more strategies that will make the success of training your dog easier than ever before.

9. Dog Brain Training

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Dogs are often rated based on their intelligence levels as breeds. Unfortunately, most dogs that are considered of average or below-average levels of intelligence are just grossly misunderstood.

The truth is that there are some dog breeds that are more obedient and responsive to commands. There are dog breeds that are more eager to please than others. And there are dogs that are just genetically more likely to maintain focus than others.

The rest that doesn’t fall into these three criteria are not actually dumb and that is what brain training for dogs seeks to capitalize on. Every dog is intelligent and the key to successful training is tapping into that mental power.

Dog brain training stands out as it focuses more on mental stimulation for successful training than simply shoving new skills down the doggy’s throat. By challenging and stimulating the pooch, learning becomes more fun for them.

This training strategy works especially well with dogs that are stubborn, easily distracted, or very emotionally volatile. Training becomes fun for them and as a result, easier for you. It is truly a win-win tactic. You could also use it on dog breeds that are traditionally considered more intelligent and easier to train.

Electric dog training collars are also often used together with electric dog fences to stop your dog from wandering off your property. In this case, the correction is administered when the dog gets too close to the fence to remind them that they are not allowed to go past a certain point. Pairing these up with flags for a visual cue also helps a lot.

8. Positive Reinforcement Dog Training Technique

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This is one of the oldest tricks in the book; pun very much intended. It uses what is known as operand conditioning where the dog develops subconscious associations between good behavior and positive outcomes over time.

It is a pretty straightforward strategy with 3 main parts.

The first is the command or behavior which is what you want the dog to learn. It could be a skill like opening the door or a trick sitting pretty. It could also be behavior like going to bed or waiting to go potty in the right place.

The second important part of the strategy is on the dog’s part which is the actual execution of the command or demonstration of the desired behavior. You have to be patient in this case as some skills take longer to pick up on than others. A little motivation goes a long way. You could also demonstrate or actually help them do the trick.

Finally, you have the reward part of the training. This depends on your pooch and what makes them happy. It could be a chance to play with their favorite toy or even receive praises with patting and hugs. However, what has been shown to work the best are dog treats.

7. Relationship-Based Dog Training Technique

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The bond between dogs and humans is truly impressive and endearing. Even the most aloof and reserved of dog breeds eventually let their walls down when they feel safe and loved. This is exactly what the relationship-based dog training model relies on.

This technique is best executed by the dog’s owner as it takes advantage of the existing bond of trust between the pooch and their favorite human.

However, it can also be done by unfamiliar professional trainers. In these cases, the first few sessions are geared towards forming some sort of a bond.

Another hallmark of the relationship-based strategy is that it needs to be the perfect balance of fun and actual learning. It seeks to change very little, if anything at all, about the relationship dynamics between the trainer and the dog.

Therefore, if you are always sweet when you talk to your dog, this is not the time to suddenly turn into a drill sergeant. If you do it right, it should end up feeling more like playtime with new skills than an actual training session.

Despite all this awesomeness to look forward to, the dog’s personality is definitely worth considering for this one. This is because it only works if the dog’s temperament traits include an eagerness to please and high levels of responsiveness. For some dogs, it will take more than just a buddy-buddy relationship with you to get them to tow the line.

6. Dominance-Based Training Technique

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Training is not always fun and games and there are times you will have to set your foot down and be firm with your dog. This is especially important with bold dog breeds with an inclination to dominant and aggressive behavior. That is exactly what the dominance-based dog training technique exists to achieve.

Most dog breeds have a strong pack mentality and tend to gravitate towards submission to the most dominant in the group. It could be the largest, strongest, or simply the most confident of the dogs.

When using this technique, it is important to appreciate that you are now your dog’s pack and there can only be one alpha. And unless you want issues, especially with aggressive dogs, you have to step up to the plate.

Training, in this case, involves using more of a firm and confident tone. However, you have to be careful not to take this too far so you do not trigger your dog’s defensive responses.

Dominance based dog training also does not dwell too long on positive reinforcement.

Just appreciate the successful execution, give them a quick rub or praise and move on to the next step of the training.

5. Model-Rival Training Techniques

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A little competition when it comes to training your dog may go a long way. This is awesome if you have two dogs you want to train at the same time. The rivalry motivates them to be responsive especially if your approval is on the line.

In this case, training is often done simultaneously. Make sure to reward the dog that does it fastest first. This creates the desire in the second pooch to impress you and get the same kind of attention and affection.

However, there is a slippery slope between encouraging competition and completely deflating the slower dog’s spirits. You therefore also have to appreciate the second dog’s efforts albeit not as enthusiastically. The small reinforcement will make the world of a difference.

It also works well with dogs that have already been trained in which case you also get demonstrations for easier execution of commands by the rookie pooch. The competitive aspect of the approach also works with this dynamic.

Whether you choose to pair two amateur doggies together or you get a trained one for demonstration, it is crucial to only choose dogs with good chemistry. If you pit two dogs that are already at odds, you risk making things worse with chances of escalation.

4. Motivational Training Technique

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Motivational training is very similar to the positive reinforcement technique as you will see shortly. However, there are a few subtle but very important differences that give each option its perks.

For the most part, both the motivational training technique and the positive reinforcement seek to encourage desired behavior by evoking positive emotions in the dog.

With the motivational approach, this is usually done verbally. It could be a “good boy” here or “you can do it” there that lets the dog know that someone is rooting for them.

Obviously, your dog doesn’t understand actual language and may not know what exactly it is you are saying. That is why the tone is so important. Use a gentle and enthusiastic tone which your pooch should recognize as positive especially if you use it elsewhere during your bonding sessions.

The key feature of the motivational dog training technique is the timing of the motivation.

Ideally, this should be done both during and after the execution of the desired command. However, you do not want to be too enthusiastic as you may distract them. Instead, start small with gentle praises and build up in intensity as the dog gets further and further into the activity.

3. Dog Clicker Training

Clicker training is very often used by professional dog trainers and it is not so hard to see why.

It is super effective especially if you are working with a fast learner of a dog. This strategy is also incredibly popular among dog owners and dog trainers training dogs for shows and competitions. This is because in addition to being effective, it is easy and very convenient to use especially in those settings where you want to issue your commands and rewards fast.

During the first few stages of clicker training, the clicker is used together with rewards like dog treats, dog toys, or even verbal affirmation. Every time the dog does what you want you to press the clicker and give them their reward. With time, they learn to associate the clicker sound with positive feelings.

At this point, you can withdraw the rewards from the equation and rely solely on commands and the clicker. Here, you give the command then press the clicker and your dog should know what to do.

In really advanced dog training, clicker training can actually be modified to the point where you completely eliminate the command portion and rely solely on coded clicker commands.

If you are interested in giving this a try, check out PetSafe Clik-R Dog Training Clicker. With its high-quality construction and ergonomic design, it is a tool you will definitely enjoy using.

PetSafe Clik-R Dog Training Clicker - Positive Behavior Reinforcer for Pets - All Ages, Puppy and...
  • TRAIN YOUR PET: Clicker training is a clear way to train your pet using a click and a reward to tell your pet he's done...
  • COMPACT DESIGN: The Clik-R Pet Trainer is ergonomic and easy to hold while you are training your dog
  • HAND HELD COMFORT: The attached finger band provides added comfort and makes it easier to hold

2. Science-Based Dog Training

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Most dog training strategies are very specific involving the desired behavior, methods to encourage it, and the outcome.

However, this pooch-training approach is not as straightforward as one would deem it to be. The science-based dog training hack is more of a general concept than an actual set of steps and rules. It is one of the newer strategies and is already quite promising.

The basic premise of science-based dog training is that every pooch is different even within the same dog breed. Understanding the dog’s behavioral patterns makes it easier to push their buttons right for the desired behavior. You also have to understand your dog’s learning abilities. That way, it is possible to curate more individualized training plans.

When employing this strategy, it is also important to understand the behavioral norms of the dog breed you are dealing with in general. Maybe the breed is known for being very obedient and responsive. Maybe they are notoriously stubborn and aloof.

When it comes to the actual execution based on what you understand about your dog, there is no fixed path to take. More often than not, dog owners and professional dog trainers combine several strategies or even make up new ones of their own with their understanding of what may work best.

1. Electronic Dog Collar Training

Electronic dog collar training is easily the most controversial training method on our list. This is because it is one of the few approaches out there that uses negative reinforcement to discourage unwanted behavior.

What many people do not realize is the fact that most tools used in this method are specially designed to offer humane and dog-friendly correction. You, therefore, do not have to worry about hurting or traumatizing your furry best friend.

The technique utilizes dog collars fitted with systems that give an irritating but otherwise safe static shock to dissuade the dog from unwanted behavior. It is often used in bark control training, especially if the dog owner is away or asleep and not able to immediately reprimand the noisy pooch.

We recommend the PATPET Dog Training Collar which allows you to choose between static shock, vibrations, and beeping for dog-friendly reinforcement.

Related Questions

How Do Professional Dog Trainers Train Dogs? Most, if not all, professional dog trainers use positive reinforcement as the main dog training technique. However, with many good-quality dog training facilities and experts, the sessions are customized based on the dog’s personality and intelligence level. In such cases, a combination of techniques may be used for effective training.

What Is The First Thing You Should Train Your Puppy? The first thing you should train your dog is how to focus. This is easily achieved using the positive reinforcement technique and basic commands like “sit” or “come”. This approach allows the dog to get familiar with your authoritative tone. It also allows them to form basic connections between behavior and reinforcement which makes subsequent training easier.

Is It Better To Train Your Dog Yourself? If you have the tools and the strategies, it is best to train your dog yourself. This is because you are ultimately the one who will be reinforcing the behavior and utilizing the skills the dog has learned in the long run. It also makes it easier for the dog to remain responsive as they associate you with authority from the very start.

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Pete Decker