DECADES OF DOG TRAINING:Negative reinforcement played a key part of dog training for three decades in the 50’s,60’s, and 70’s; primarily the jerking of a choke chain; with the mantra being, "Command! Jerk! Praise!" The 80’s brought a movement toward todays positive training method. Ian Dunbar recognized the importance of socializing and teaching puppies before they are six months. Karen Pryor advocated that operant-conditioning proved punishment as a way to bring about change repeatedly fails; describing specific positive methods that changed behaviors in spouses, children, and pets.
Barbara Woodhouse promoted the "No Bad Dogs" philosophy. She had a no-nonsense style and was highly critical of "bad owners." R.K. Anderson, DVM, MPH, DACVB, DACVPM, changed dog training forever in 1980, while on sabbatical at the University of California, Davis. The Gentle Leader Headcollar revolutionized dog training and was designed to replace the choke chain. The Smithsonian named the Gentle Leader one of the world’s 100 best inventions.
OUR TRAINING METHOD
Derived from the theories of symbolic interactionism. Relationship-Based Training exploits the patterns of communication, interpretation, and adaptation between dogs and their trainers. Building on a positive relationship between them, the method sets out to achieve results that benefit both the dog and the trainer, while at the same time enhancing and strengthening their relationship.
The basic principles include ensuring that the dog's basic needs have been met before beginning a training session. Finding out what motivates the dog and using it to elicit behaviors. Interpreting the dog's body language to improve communication between the dog and the trainer; and then using positive reinforcement to encourage that desired behavior. Training incompatible behaviors to replace unwanted behaviors and finally, controlling the dog's environment to limit the possibility of unwanted behaviors.
A Relationship-Based approach to dog training is not reliant on using particular training aids or treats, the relationship is always there, and the connection between dog and trainer is sufficiently powerful to achieve the training goals.
Training can take as many forms as there are trainers, however a detailed study of trainers found common characteristics of successful methods: such as thoughtful interpretation of the animal prior to training, accurate timing and consistent communication.
Dogs have become closely associated with humans through domestication; they have also become sensitive to human communication signals. Studies revealed the potential for at least some dogs to develop an understanding of simple commands on the basis of just the sounds emitted by their owners. However, the studies reported that body language from the owner to be the most important form of communication with their dogs.
For any of these techniques or methods, consistency from the handler’s training, behavior, and level of engagement will influence the effectiveness of any technique applied or method used.