Dog Training – Reinforcing the Dog / Owner Relationship
Finding the style of that works best for you is important for establishing the boundaries between dog and owner, and for training your dog to be an obedient, loyal and faithful member of your family. All dog training methods work to reinforce the relationship between you and your dog, and the foundation of any successful training program is getting the respect of your dog. Fortunately, dogs are wired by nature to seek out leaders, and to follow the direction of those leaders. You are your dog’s leader!
One of the most popular methods of dog training is the so called leash/collar style of training. Both leash/collar training and reward training have been used for many years, and both have established their effectiveness over time. While it is important to remember that each breed of dog has its own unique qualities, reinforced by hundreds of years of selective breeding, the style of training that works best often varies from dog to dog, and from breed to breed.
This is because personalities of individual dogs vary considerably, even within established breeds. You, as the owner of the dog, know better than anyone which style of dog training will work best, so it is important to work with the trainer you choose to achieve your goal of a willing, obedient and friendly dog.
Leash and collar style training usually works well with larger, heavier types of dogs, particularly where the dog needs to develop a high level of reliability. Dogs who have an important job to do, such as rescue dogs, police dogs and guard dogs, generally benefit from leash and collar training.
In leash and collar training, varying degrees of force can be used, ranging from slight prompts with the lead to very harsh corrections. The amount of correction used should be appropriate to the situation, since using too much correction, or too little, will be ineffective.
So how does it work?
In a collar and leash based dog training program, you will teach your dog a particular behavior, generally with the leash. After your dog has demonstrated that it understands the command, the leash is then used to correct the dog if it disobeys, or when it makes a mistake. The leash is the main form of controlling and communicating with the dog in leash and collar training.
If you send your dog to a specialized dog handler for training, the leash and collar method is probably the dog training style which will be used.
When using leash and collar training, the dog must be trained to trust the handler and accept his or her directions without question. In order for the dog to be fully trained, the handler must demonstrate the ability to place the dog into a posture or position he or she does not want to take. This does not mean using force, but it does generally require some level of physical manipulation. This manipulation is most easily and safely done using the main tool of leash and collar training – the leash.
It is important for every would be dog trainer to understand that the leash is simply a tool. While the leash is an important tool in this form of training, it is important for the dog trainer to be able to eventually achieve the same results using whatever tools are at hand.
Even when the only tools at hand are the owner’s body and skill, the dog should be willing to obey. Creating a leader/follower relationship between owner and dog is still very important, and it is important to use the leash as a tool and not a crutch. A properly trained dog should be willing to obey whether the leash is present or not.
Therefore, the end result that you’ll be wanting to achieve, whether you train your dog yourself at home, in an obedience training group, or by having your dog trained by a dog trainer, is for your dog to continue to obey your commands even after you take the leash and collar away.
Happy dog training!