WE BELIEVE THAT: Dogs do not emerge ready-trained knowing how to fit into society, canine or human. Their education begins with their mother and their siblings and continues with their peers. Responsible breeders and owners continue the process throughout the dog’s life.
Some knowledge is inborn: the puppy’s sense of taste is active in utero and, even when still blind and deaf, the puppy will have a powerful sense of smell and touch. As they feed and are weaned, the bitch will start to teach bite inhibition, a process that is continues as they learn how to play with their siblings. Feral dogs and wolves will live in family groups for at least the first year or more and maybe throughout their lives. Domestic dogs are separated at about 8 weeks, so it behoves their new human owners to continue their education.
It is natural for dogs to bite, chew, jump up and mark territory. Owners have a responsibility to teach their dog what is acceptable and what is not in the alien environment of the human home. Many, many dogs are re-homed because their natural behaviour is not understood and channelled into suitable areas.
Training does not end with puppyhood. It is one of the best ways to bond with your dog and discover what makes him tick. It is also one of the most fun things for dog and owner to do. Everyone wants a dog who has good recall, who reacts to basic cues, who doesn’t snatch food or toys or guard possessions: all have to be taught and reinforced throught the dog’s life. If you find this a chore or expect someone else to do it for you, don’t get a dog.
Training must be positive for owner and dog and involve both – simultaneously. Do not send your dog away to a “boot camp”. You will have no control over how your dog is handled and the best result will be that the dog will “behave” for the boot camp trainer but continue to ignore you. Training is not a matter of drilling the dog in “commands” which it then obeys like a robot and owners also need to be trained! Even the most experienced handler will learn something new from each dog as every dog is unique. Dog and handler need to work as a team and to train in a variety of circumstances. A dog that knows to sit at home may not recognise that this is required in the park and will need to be trained with various distractions. None of this can happen in a week with the dog sent to a training venue.
Training has advanced way beyond the traditional police dog handler-type methods. Pet dogs are not being trained for security work so need other approaches. You should use, or go to a trainer that uses, ethical methods that enable your dog to learn without being exposed to incremental punishments. It’s more fun for the trainer too. It is quite possible to train a dog to be reliable in reacting to commands in most situations but much better for dog and owner to train a dog to respond to cues because it wants to and finds it rewarding.
Find out about R+ Dog Training in London.
Find a trainer here: http://www.apdt.co.uk/
Ethical Training – A Very Brief History
Modern methods of ethical dog training stem from the work of Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (Ива́н Петро́вич Па́влов) whose pioneering experiments with canine digestion and classical conditioning were initiated in the early years of the 20th century…Read more
Since man began to domesticate dogs, he has used a variety of restraining devices, not least to prevent the dog from injuring itself by coming into contact with man-made dangers. In the right hands, many of these devices can assist with training and keep dogs under control and safe. In the wrong hands, they can be a menace to people and other dogs and cause chronic misery and injury…Read more