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Which Dog Training Techniques are Right for your Dog?

Common Dog Training Techniques

  • Lure
  • Play Training
  • Clicker Training
  • Flooding
  • Shock Collar
  • Physical Correction
  • After-the-Fact Discipline

Motivating your Dog

Consider how much time and effort we put toward motivating people - children in school, rebellious teenagers, co-workers, employees and certainly boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives! People are motivated by many things including love, money, power, fame and helping others. To entice a person to do something for you it is best to first understand what drives them or motivates them. In a work example, a person may be motivated by keeping their job, earning a promotion or getting a bonus. If you can identify what best motivates that person then you will be successful in getting them to do what you want them to do.

Dogs are no different. If you spend just a little time figuring out what best motivates your dog and use those motivations in your training efforts, your success rate skyrockets.

Compare Dog Training Techniques

Technique Motivation Results
Lure Food, Attention, Affection Forever effective
Clicker Training Food, Attention, Affection Forever effective
Flooding Giving Up, Throwing in the towel Short-term effective, can backfire long-term
Shock Collar Not getting hurt Effective when collar is on
Physical Correction Not getting hurt Depends on delivery and dog breed
After-The-Fact Discipline Not Applicable -Technique does not work Not effective, appears effective (see below)
     

Lure

How it Works: Use food, attention or play to lure your dog into desired positions or actions and, ultimately, wanted behaviors.

Comparable To: Dangling Carrots (but then giving your dog the carrot as well)

Recommended For: All training types, the lure technique is effective for obedience training and behavior modification. After your dog learns the command you are teaching, you can phase the lure out.

Clicker Training

How it Works: Associate the clicker sound with positive rewards and use the sound to train desired behaviors.

Comparable To: Pavlov's Bell

Recommended For: All training types, click training is effective for obedience training and behavior modification. Clickers are easy to carry but you will need to have it within reach forever to maintain the training.

Flooding

How it Works: Expose your dog to situations that are very disturbing until they no longer result in aggression or anxiety.

Comparable To: Police Interrogation (resulting in false confession)

Recommended For: This technique typically causes great discomfort initially, is not usually effective and can backfire resulting in a bite or attack.

Shock Collar

How it Works: Opposite concept as Food Lure or Clicker Training - instead of getting a reward for desired behavior, dog is shocked for undesired behavior. Shock collars are considered "humane" in that they aren't causing permanent physical injury and electric shocks can be controlled by the dog. In situations wherein the result of disobedience is far worse than the shock itself (example: escape yard, get hit by car) then electric collars should be considered. For basic obedience and behavior problems, shock collars are not necessary.

Note: You may want to put the collar on your own neck and give it test drive to see whether it is humane enough for your furry best friend (who would walk through fire to save your life).

Comparable To: Stun Gun

Recommended For: Electric Fences

Physical Correction

How it Works: Quick, properly timed collar correction, scruff shake, alpha roll or tap on chest can teach your dog NOT to do whatever he is doing at that exact moment.

Comparable To: Grabbing a person's arm and saying, "Don't do it".

Recommended For: When your dog is pulling on the leash, collar corrections should be used. If done properly, you should only need to do it a few times. Otherwise, your dog is not getting the message and you should consult a trainer. Physical corrections can also be used to stop bad behavior while it is occurring but, again, they must be timed perfectly.

Caution: Some dogs respond to violence with more violence (aggressive) or get scared and lose confidence (fearful). Consult a professional trainer to learn how, when, and if you should use these corrections on your dog.

After-the-Fact Discipline

How it Works: Yell at your dog, smack or swat your dog and/or rub his nose in messes (potty, destroyed objects, etc.)

Comparable To: Abusive Alcoholic
This example is extreme but it is comparable because to your dog getting punished for something already done - and by now, completely forgotten - is random and makes no logical sense. Your dog may appear to "know he has done something wrong" but he doesn't know what it is. Rather, he senses your anger and reacts to your body language and vocal tone NOT his memory and recognition of what he has done wrong.

Recommended For: Nothing...This technique does not work and may slow progress.

 
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