Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Bad dog!

I am doing a lot of reading about dog training and I thought I would update some of the things I am learning and what I believe and add them to the training section.

Reading forums and listning to dog owners talk about their dog when it has been 'bad' has made me really think about if a dog is being bad or not.

I have come to the conclusion that NO a dog isnt being bad - that is us humans putting our views there

A dog does what is rewarding to them and avoids things that are not rewarding

So if your dog is doing something you consider bad it is because

a. It does not understand what you want it to do

Dogs dont come with a manual of how to behaive
sure some might be better than others - so if they are doing something you want them to do - reward them, and put a name to what they are doing
If they are doing something you dont want, dont tell them off, train what you want them to do in the situation

b. It does not find the thing you are asking as rewarding as other things

Sure, your dog might have a perfect recal in the house, but outside there are lots of interesting smells and fun dogs to play with. Build up slowly and make doing what you want more fun.

c. It does not find working with you rewarding

Thankfully this is really easy
Dogs are bred from the wolves that most wanted to work with humans. Over thousands of years we have slelectivly bred from the dogs who most wanted to work with us.
Dogs naturaly want to work with us, we just have to make ourselves more interesting.
The best way to do that (IMO) is to work with your dog, train it - anything, tricks are not demeaning to your dog - they are fun, they make your dogs brain work and they make them realise that its a good thing to work with you.

Sure in the begining it might take a wee while to train things, but the good thing is the more you train the more the dog wants to work with you and the quicker it learns

If you punnish the dog for being bad you make it less likely to want to try new things, less confident and less trusting of you
and of course very confused - randomly being told off when it dosent know better.

As I driving instructor I liken teaching people to drive like dog training.

I tell them what I want them to do, I show them if needed and I keep on helping them till they are confident and know what they should do, and I praise them when they are doing well, guide them when things go wrong

If I was to train using punisments then I would give them the keys and just yell 'NO' at them every time they did something wrong - but leave them to figure out how to actualy drive
Sure some people might learn that way but most would either get agressive and find another instructor and the rest would just sit in tears doing nothing incase they got it wrong.


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