Basic Dog Training Theory:
Dog training is simply shaping the animal's behavior to conform to what is acceptable to people. When training, it is important to teach each new skill or exercise to the dog in three stages - the Teaching Stage, Correction Stage, and the Proofing stage.
Dog training simply shapes the animal's behavior to conform to what is acceptable to people.
- First, we need to clearly define the desired behavior.
- Then, we break down the behavior into small, achievable parts. This is known as "task analysis."
- Next, we determine what needs to be taught first. Once decided, we begin by teaching this first element and reinforcing it until the dog understands it.
- Then, we move to the next logical element in the sequence, and so on. Each element builds on the previous element(s) until an entire behavior is learned.
The Teaching Stages of Dog Training
When training, it is essential to teach each new skill or exercise to the dog in three stages:
- Teaching Stage. In this stage, the dog doesn't understand what you're asking of him. You're now teaching the dog, using various aids to associate a particular word or command with a desired action or behavior. During this stage, you show the dog what you mean when you say, "Sit." You use food and other aids to help the dog understand what you expect when you give the command.
- Correction Stage. Start correcting as soon as you feel that the dog understands your expectation. Keep the food out of sight of the dog in this stage. If the dog responds correctly when you give the command, give him praise and a food tidbit, the motivator. If the dog doesn't respond appropriately, correct him to get into the desired position. Once he is in the desired position, give praise – and the motivator.
- Proofing Stage. This final stage starts only after the dog consistently performs the exercise correctly and no longer needs correction. The proofing stage seeks to ensure that the dog's response is reliable in less-than-ideal conditions. During this stage, you gradually introduce distractions while the dog works. If he becomes distracted, you teach him to continue to work. Teaching him to obey despite distractions helps make him a safe dog and reliable in any situation