I keep seeing training questions asked over and over again. The responses are quite helpful but they are really a band-aid to the real problem. The real problem I see is people are asking for someone to give them the answer. In dog training tips are good but without a basic knowledge of learning theory you will always be asking for some to show you how. Every dog trainers dilemla is how to get a dog to preform behaviors they want and make the ones they do not go extinct. So I am going to give people the skinny on how to start thinking and stop adopting others ideals on how to train a dog.
1. Learn how dogs learn. There are two basic ways a dog learns. Classical conditioning and Operant Condition. No matter if your training program is based on dominace or purley positive, it has been proven by people much more qualified that dog trainers that these two theories are exactly how ALL mammals learn. Without this knowledge you will always be asking how someone else got thier dog to do the things they do.
2. Learn about behaviorism and ethology. Behaviorism is purely about motivaiton and consequence. Think of the rat hitting the pedal for another pellet
Ethology is all about how emotion and free thought effect behaviorism. Now there are extremes to these two sides, but most people agree that these two sciences work together.
3. Use the scientific process...you learned it in the 5th grade, now is the time to use it. So try things, if the do not work. think about it!!!
4. Having a mentor is good, having someone hold your hand is not. there are tons of resources...S.P.C.A's a lot of times have seminars all the time for as cheap as 10.00.
5. Read books from all the sides. I am not a fan of Ceasar, But I read his stuff, He does have success so he must know something.
6. WRITE IT DOWN. And the see where operant and classical conditioning play a part
7. The problem is not the dog in most cases, it's us. And if you have a keen eye the dog will tell you where you are the problem.
8. Do not be so sure your right, the biggest downfall to most trainers is they are positive they are right. So they apply more of the same, yet nothing changes.
9. Before you start training a behavior, think of how you want that behavior to look, in depth. No just I want the dog to sit, think of how you want them to sit fast, at your side, in front of you....whatever! Then think of a strategy.
10. STOP TESTING THE DOG, and start TRAINING THE DOG. To many people try to see if thier dog "has it" way to soon then they start making problems.
11. learn the difference between luring, capturing, shaping, chaining, and molding
12. Before you apply any type of correction...know the equipment, know the ramifications and the application.
13. Try not to let pre-concieved Ideas about certain training ideas deter you, like using a crate, I will tell you the crate is the single most important training tool thier is.
14. Displince thy self....how can you expect a dog to act with discpline if you do not.
15. become an actor...your posture and and deamnor can relay a ton of information to the dog.
16. ASK this question a lot to people respect...why are they or are they not doing this. Your not asking for the solution but the why! Take the why, and it will give more on the how.
Dog training is all about communication, in a sense you need to learn how to convey an idea without language. and since humans are so dependent upon spoken word, this is seriously diffcult for most. But the answers are usually so simple you may ask yourself..."why didn't I think of that".
Becoming a dog trainer has helped in every facet of my life. I can get people to behave I how want them to a lot of the time. I have raised my child on these ideas...and he is a head of the curve.
And think of your dog as not being trained, but being raised.
I believe a dog's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment he holds dear, is when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-with a ball in his mouth."