Published at Tuesday, 14 May 2019. Dog Training. By Lucile Mouton.
Reward training (which is sometimes also called lure training) is a very effective training technique for teaching dogs a number of desired behaviors. And, in addition to being highly effective, reward training is an easy, fun method to use. This particular training technique provides much quicker, more dependable results than methods that rely heavily on scolding, corrections or punishment, and it does it in a way that's much more positive for both you and your dog.
Although some owners don't like reward training because they think dogs trained this way follow their commands simply because they want a treat and not out of a sense of obedience or respect, there's no question that reward training is effective. And, even if you accept the premise that dogs learn from reward training strictly because they're being ”bribed,” isn't that better than obeying out of a fear of punishment? Not only that, but treats aren't the only type of reward that can be used as positive reinforcement. Praising your dog with an excited, happy tone of voice, giving him toys, and giving him lots of physical affection can all be just as motivating as giving him treats or food.
Promote cooperation. When you give your dog a verbal cue, your voice, like your body language, should be relaxed and even. Speak in a normal tone. As you give your cue, picture your dog performing the exercise nicely — this confidence will come through in your voice. Avoid tones that are whiny, questioning, or pleading. Trying to train your dog in these ”lost puppy” tones will be an exercise in frustration. They will not gain you acknowledgment, much less respect! Remember, you are a teacher, a coach, a mentor – not a servant. At the other extreme, you don't need to assume a loud, tough-sounding ”command voice”. This is for two reasons. First, aggressive, intimidating tones tend to introduce resistance in more confident dogs, and unthinking subservience in less confident ones. Neither is conducive to learning, cooperation, or teamwork. Second, your dog is perfectly capable of listening and responding when you speak in a normal, pleasant, everyday tone of voice. Assuming you plan to utilize what you've taught your dog in your everyday life, you will be instructing your dogs here and there all day long. So, why in the world teach your dog that you have to play ”drill sergeant” in order to have him do as you ask? It introduces unnecessary stress into training, is not particularly productive, and certainly doesn't reflect a relationship of willing partnership. The fact is, your dog is much more likely to respond calmly, willingly, and thoughtfully if your voice and demeanor are relaxed and conversational. The bottom line: to promote cooperation, teach your dog his cues in a voice that is reasonable, comfortable, and normal for you.
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