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rec.pets.dogs: Training Your Dog FAQ


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Archive-name: dogs-faq/training
URL: http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/training.html
Last-modified: 19 Mar 1998

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                               Training Your Dog
                                       
Author

   Cindy Tittle Moore, rpd-info@netcom.com
   Copyright 1997.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
What _is_ Training?

   There are multiple meanings to the term "training." It's important to
   understand that when deciding what you need to do with your dog. Here
   I offer my distinctions:
   
   First, there is "behavior training." This is the kind of training in
   which a dog is taught to be a "good citizen." Typically this includes
   housetraining, good behavior around other people and dogs, reasonable
   leash manners and other small things that make a dog a much more
   pleasant companion. A well behaved dog attracts no special notice from
   the public (aside from amazing some with their good manners).
   
   There is "obedience training," which is generally teaching the dog how
   to perform specific activities. This can include traditional
   "obedience" exercises such as heeling. The emphasis here is on prompt
   and precise performance. While there can be many overall benefits to
   such training, the training is usually for the training's sake and not
   necessarily to improve the dog's behavior. Dogs that have been
   obedience trained will perform specific tasks when their owners ask
   them to do so. (And as a matter of fact, some obedience trained dogs
   may well _behave_ poorly; an excellent herding dog that nonetheless
   barks quite a bit for no apparent reason would be an example.)
   
   "Activity training" refers to training for specific activities -- this
   includes hunting, herding, Search and Rescue, lure coursing -- any of
   a myriad number of activities designed to showcase the abilities of
   the dog and his handler, particularly in activities for which the dog
   has been bred to do. These days, such activity also includes "sports"
   such as frisbee, flyball, agility and so on.
   
   Of course the lines tend to blur between all of these distinctions. A
   certain amount of obedience training will help with behaviors. For
   example a dog that is heeling will not pull on the leash. Still you
   want to keep this in mind when selecting a training class so that it
   best matches your needs. For many pet owners, the behavior oriented
   classes are the best way to learn how to understand and control your
   dog. For those of you who want to enjoy a sport or compete in an
   activity with your dog will need to move along to more complex
   training.
   
   You need to be aware of whether your dog needs behavior modification
   (where you will have to find out the underlying reason why your dog
   digs and not just put chicken wire over everything) or obedience
   training (to understand commands). Certainly, the two may be related:
   a dog that digs because it is bored may become less bored with
   obedience training and stop digging. It is important, however, to
   understand that the dog stopped digging because it was no longer bored
   than because it now knows how to heel. You will need to modify your
   approach, or select a trainer to help you, with behavior vs. training
   in mind.
   
   So much for the type of things being taught... another factor to
   consider is that there are many _methods_ for teaching any of these!
   
  Help! Which one is the right one?
  
   There really is no right or wrong. There are methods that are more
   effective under certain circumstances than others. Things to take into
   consideration when choosing the most effective method for you and your
   dog include: your personality, your dog's personality, your goals,
   your abilities as a trainer, and your experience as a trainer.
   
   For example, if you are not happy with a particular method of
   training, for whatever reason, then it is unlikely you and your dog
   will do well with this method. Your dog will pick up on your
   reluctance and either share your dismay or take advantage of the
   situation to do as he pleases.
   
   If your dog is the strong, take charge type, a method that does not
   deal with this trait will result in his walking away with the training
   sessions, getting very little done. Conversely, if your dog is very
   sensitive, there may be a variety of methods you can use so long as
   you are very careful about how you correct him. Or, a very submissive
   dog may need a particular method that emphasizes learning something
   new very thoroughly so that they may be as confident as possible when
   doing it. You have to observe your dog closely and figure out what his
   strengths and weakenesses are.
   
   Your own abilities as a trainer come into play, as well. Some people
   have a natural sense of timing and an almost instinctive understanding
   of what their dog is thinking and how to react to it. Most people do
   _not_ have this ability but can learn it to some degree over time.
   Others just do not. Recognizing your particular strengths and
   weaknesses will let you use each more effectively. Another ability
   some people seem to just have, others can develop, etc. is the ability
   to "read" a dog; that is correctly guess what the dog is thinking or
   feeling during training. This ability is valuable as it allows you to
   make appropriate adjustments on the fly to increase the effectiveness
   of your training.
   
   Some methods are very effective but can be abused if the wrong person
   uses them. For example, the Koehler method of dog training worked very
   well on many dogs, in the hands of its originator. Koehler reportedly
   had an astute sense of timing and a keen awareness of how to present
   something fairly to a dog, but the "Koehler Method" as applied by
   others was so often abusive that today this method of training dogs is
   in disrepute.
   
   Obviously, therefore, a good trainer is one who helps YOU figure out
   how to train your dog. A good trainer helps you learn to observe your
   dog for important clues to his behaviors and actions. A good trainer
   watches you and your dog work together and helps you learn where you
   are letting your dog down. A trainer's job, in short, is to teach you
   to become a trainer of your own dog. It is not a trainer's job to
   teach your dog. Typically, you only see your trainer for one hour a
   week. Training requires short, daily sessions. YOU are the one
   training your dog. (Sending a dog away to be trained is a separate
   consideration, with its own set of potential problems.) A good trainer
   has several methods under their belt and helps you figure out which
   ones work best with your dog.
   
   Don't worry, there _are_ some constants in dog training. _Consistency_
   and _Fairness_.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Theory of Learning

   Let's start off with an examination of current theories behind
   learning. Most training methods actually use a little of everything
   even if they are weighted toward one method or another. And some
   teaching methods are actually making use of the same principles even
   if they appear to be widely different. So it's worth going over this.
   
  Classical Conditioning
  
   The principles of classical conditioning were worked out early in this
   century by Pavlov, and thus is also called Pavlovian conditioning. In
   the original experiments, a bell was rung, and the subject (as it
   happens, a dog) was given food; eventually, the dog began to salivate
   on hearing the bell, apparently anticipating the arrival of the food.
   This is pure stimulant-response stuff, since the signal (the bell)
   always comes before the reinforcement, and the dog doesn't do anything
   to make the bell ring.
   
   So we start with:
    1. trainer rings bell (stimulus)
    2. dog gets food (reinforcement)
       
   And end up with:
    1. trainer rings bell
    2. dog drools (response)
    3. dog gets food
       
   How can this be used? A great way to use classical conditioning is to
   teach the dog secondary rewards. Let's say you want to use a
   particular word or even a particular sound (such as a click) as a
   reward just because it is simpler than whatever your dog's best
   primary reward is. So train your dog by saying the word or making the
   sound and then treating him with a primary reward. He'll start to
   associate the two quickly and your alternative will become a suitable
   interim reward for your dog. You'll need to refresh the association
   from time to time, of course, but it does expand your possible
   repertoire for telling your dog "You done good!"
   
   If you're observant, you'll also notice that most dogs are classically
   conditioned. If you say "Sit!" and they sit, that is a stimulus-
   response sequence no matter how the sit itself was taught.
   
  Operant Conditioning
  
   B.F. Skinner outlined the principles of what he termed "operant
   conditioning." In contrast to classical conditioning, in operant
   conditioning the reinforcement cycle starts with some action on the
   part of the trainee (in Skinner's language, the operant). Operant
   conditioning is therefore _always_ dependent on behavior, whereas
   classical conditioning is _not_. We have:
    1. dog does something (operant behavior)
    2. dog gets food (positive reinforcement)
       
   Under this theory, if we control which behaviors are reinforced, we
   should be able to get the dog to offer those behaviors more often. If
   the dog gets good stuff in association with a particular behavior,
   he's likely to repeat it; if something bad happens, he's less likely
   to repeat it. In practical training terms, this means that if Andy
   picks up his dumbbell (step 1), Andy gets some turkey (step 2); if he
   doesn't, he doesn't get the turkey. The result should be that in the
   long run, Andy will grab the dumbbell eagerly, even if he isn't a
   natural retriever.
   
  Combining elements of each
  
   In contemporary dog training, a lot of attention is paid to operant
   conditioning -- "clicker training" is nothing more or less than the
   real-world application of one small part of Skinner's research. But
   classical conditioning is almost always present, and should be kept in
   mind: think about the dog who hears the bell -- his drooling
   represents the kind of happy anticipation that we want in a working
   dog. Classical conditioning, in its practical application, is all
   about training for attitude. If he associates good stuff (positive
   reinforcement) with training situations (think of that as the bell
   ringing) he'll show the same kind of eagerness that you'd expect if
   you extrapolate from Pavlov's droolers. In addition, even with operant
   conditioning on a dog, you will eventually associate a command with
   the behavior, so that you can elicit the bahavior from a stimulus!
   Such a sequence would be:
    1. dog offers behavior (say a sit)
    2. dog is rewarded
    3. cycle continues until dog continually offers behavior
    4. trainer now says "sit"
    5. dog sits
    6. dog is rewarded
       
   which combines elements of both operant and classic conditioning.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Rewards and Corrections

   Keep these firmly in mind:
     * _A REWARD results in an increase in the selected behavior_.
     * _A CORRECTION results in a decrease in the selected behavior_.
       
   Well that seems obvious enough, why did I bother putting those down?
   Because all too often, obvious as they may be, an astonishing number
   of people ignore them. How many times have you seen someone call their
   dog over and over and over again while the dog blithly ignores them?
   How many people wind up automatically rewarding their dog all the time
   until they find that the dog is either bored and wanders off, or won't
   do a thing unless the food is held in front of them? How many people
   smack their puppies when he soils in the house but never wind up with
   a housetrained dog?
   
   Let's examine each of these scenarios in detail. The person who calls
   their dog repeatedly without doing anything is in fact teaching their
   dog that the "Come" command is meaningless. The dog is neither being
   rewarded for the correct behavior nor being corrected for the unwanted
   behavior. Therefore "Come" has no particular meaning for this dog.
   
   If you consistently reward the dog no matter how he performs the
   selected behavior, you will have two things happen. First, the
   behavior will never _improve_ as the dog has no feedback on which is
   "better". Second, the dog learns that he always get rewarded, so the
   incentive to keep working (unless the dog is _very_ food motivated)
   will decrease. Or, if the dog is strongly food motivated, he may flat
   out refuse to do anything the moment he realizes that he will not get
   food. In this latter case food has stopped being a reward and is now
   an entitlement and no longer will increased selected behavior.
   
   A puppy that is smacked for soiling in the house has no way of
   associating the correction with the action, particularly if it happens
   well after the act. Furthermore, hitting a dog is interpreted by the
   dog as aggressive rather than corrective and so will not reduce the
   selected behavior.
   
   Back to rewards. Rewards should be given in such a way as to increase
   the behavior in question. This means, to begin with, that it should be
   something your dog enjoys and is motivated by. For some (many) dogs,
   food will do. Toys, squeakies, tug toys, tennis balls, are often good
   bets. A few dogs seem to be motivated by verbal praise, although to be
   honest, not so many as people would like to think. In most cases dogs
   learn to accept verbal praise as a secondary reward, through
   association with a primary reward. You can also use multiple reward
   methods, especially if that interests your dog.
   
   (A _primary_ reward is something that is _inherently_ rewarding to
   your dog -- food, petting, toys, etc. A _secondary_ reward is
   something that the dog _learns_ is a reward. For example "Good Dog!",
   a click, clapping. The technical term for a reward is _positive
   reinforcer_.)
   
   When you reward a dog, it should be directly associated with the
   selected behavior. A reward is ineffective if you apply it at the
   wrong time. However, the most common problem with rewards is that
   people will inadvertantly reward a dog for unwanted behaviors. Here is
   an example: Your dog growls or barks when he sees other dogs. Since
   you think he is afraid, you pet him to calm him down. "It's OK," you
   say. "Nothing bad is going to happen." OK, so what happened? The dog
   growled, you rewarded him. He's no dummy; he'll growl again in the
   hope of a reward next time.
   
   Corrections are equally full of pitfalls. First of all, what
   constitutes a correction? That's even more difficult to answer than
   for rewards. For some dogs, the tone of voice will do it, for others
   they'll never notice it. Many typical corrections are really secondary
   (eg, learned) corrections. And, many typical corrections really don't
   do anything other than make the dog afraid of you, or, when applied
   inconsistently, cause the dog to lose trust in you. Here is another
   classic example. Your dog is on the far edge of a field, and you call
   him. He doesn't come. You call him again. He doesn't come. No matter
   how often you call him, he doesn't come, so you march over and start
   to correct him. Or, he finally comes over and by this time you're so
   mad you correct him. So what happens? In the first instance, the dog
   may well have no idea what you're mad about. If he's never learned the
   "come" command (even if you think he knows it) then going over and
   popping him a couple of good ones will teach him that it's really bad
   when you go near him! If he _did_ come over to you and you popped him
   a good one, what do you think he'll remember next time you call him to
   come? That's right, you just applied a correction to a behavior
   (coming to you) in order to _decrease_ it!
   
   People very frequently misuse rewards and corrections in this way
   because many people seem to think that dogs really do know which are
   good and bad behaviors and will correctly associate one behavior (out
   of several) with the punishment. This simply is not the case. Dogs
   will association what they _most recently did_ with the correction or
   reward.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Comments on Training Methods

   As I've pointed out, there are a number of different training methods
   available. None of these methods are perfect and none are guaranteed
   to work on your dog (regardless of what it says on the cover).
   
   People frequently disagree over which methods are "good" and even
   which are "best." This kind of argument is fairly pointless, as the
   effectiveness of each training method is subjective. Find one that
   works for _you_ and don't worry about criticisms. On the other hand,
   suggestions to help overcome specific training problems may be what
   you need and you shouldn't reject it out of hand because it's not in
   the method you chose.
   
   A good trainer will be aware of many different ways to teach a dog how
   to do something. The best trainers can read their dogs and pick out
   the best match for that dog to teach him something. Not all of us are
   brilliant, but a willingness to drop something that is not working and
   try something else still lets us take advantage of finding the right
   way to teach a dog something. Over time with a particular dog, you
   should find that you are more likely to choose the right way to
   present a new concept to this dog.
   
   Good results in obedience training require large doses of consistency,
   good timing, and patience. You must be consistent: use the same word
   for a particular command every time (e.g., don't use "Come" sometimes
   and "Come here" other times). You must develop a fine sense of timing
   when introducing new commands and later correcting behavior on learned
   commands. Patience is needed: losing your temper is counterproductive.
   Get the whole family to agree on the commands, but have only one
   person train the dog to minimize confusion for the dog.
   
   Establish a daily training period, preferably just before dinner. It
   can be as short as twenty minutes, or longer. Establishing a routine
   helps.
   
   Don't expect overnight success. It can take up to two years of
   consistent work, depending on the dog, for a properly trained dog.
   (This is where the patience comes in!)
   
   You must praise often and unambiguously. A smile won't do it. Give
   abundant verbal praise, scratch your dog on the head, etc.
   
   Try making the command word part of a praise phrase. In this case,
   whenever your dog is in the desired heel position, you could say
   something like "Good heel!" in a praising tone of voice. Note that you
   only give the command _once_ but that the command word is repeated in
   the praise phrase for reinforcement. That seems to satisfy the
   objective of the proponents of repeating the command (i.e. letting the
   dog hear the command often) without actually repeating it as a
   command. Further, because it is being said when the dog is doing it
   right rather than during a correction the dog doesn't create any
   negative association with the command as the latter is likely to
   cause.
   
   If you have a puppy -- don't wait! Enroll in a kindergarten puppy
   class once its up on its shots. Don't wait until the pup is 6 months
   old to start anything.
   
   Training before "six months of age" is fine if you see the puppy
   having fun with these lessons. Just remember to keep the lessons
   short, don't loose patience when your puppy suddenly forgets
   everything it ever knew, and give it plenty of time just to be a
   puppy. In the long term, the time you spend with your puppy exploring,
   playing together and meeting new people is probably more important
   than your short "training" sessions, but both activities are very
   helpful.
   
   Remember:
     * Make it fun _for the pup_.
     * Expect setbacks. Just because the pup understood what you meant
       yesterday, doesn't mean he'll remember it today. This means _lots_
       of repetition. Teach the basic commands: sit, stay, and come for
       now.
       
   You may find it well worth your while, especially if you are new to
   training dogs, to attend obedience classes. Most places have local
   training schools. Be sure to check up on these places. Call the Better
   Business Bureau and your local SPCA for any specific complaints
   registered with them. Especially check carefully places where you ship
   your dog out to be trained: many of these places are suspect, because
   YOU must also be trained to handle your dog. Beware of advertising
   that claim LIFETIME warranties on the training, GUARANTEED solutions,
   etc. It is best for you and your dog to go through obedience training
   together, so that you both learn from each other.
   
   No matter what kind of class you're looking for: from basic puppy
   kindergarten for your little puppy to basic obedience for an older dog
   to more advanced training for a dog that's already done some work,
   you'll want to pick the class out carefully.
   
   First and foremost, pick out a class where you are comfortable with
   the methods and the trainer. If you don't start off with this footing,
   learning anything positive from the class simply won't happen.
   
   Next look at the size of the class and how much time the trainer
   spends with each person. Ideally, the smaller the class the better,
   although for puppy classes you want at least four or five dogs since
   socialization is an important part of the class. Does the trainer
   allocate time outside of class for questions (either an extra several
   minutes before or after class or giving you her phone number for
   class)? What sort of guarantees do they offer? If they say your pooch
   will be trained in six weeks permanently, no questions asked, run do
   not walk away from this outfit. If, however, they offer followup help
   after the class is over or offer a few extra classes for specific
   problems after or during the class, this is a good outfit.
   
   Check out what their policy is with aggressive dogs in class. It does
   happen that one of the dogs attending the class frightens and
   intimidates the other dogs. There should be a clause for dismissing
   such a dog (or better yet, going into private training with it), or
   having it muzzled and otherwise restrained to minimize disruption to
   the class.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Attention

   An important aspect of obedience training is getting your dog's
   attention. Your dog will not perform as readily if he isn't paying
   attention to you. There are a number of things you can do to get his
   attention, and you should be sure to praise him for paying attention.
   
   Attention goes both ways. In turn, YOU must pay close attention to
   your dog. Many dogs will stop being careful if they know you're not
   paying attention. If there's one piece of definitive advice about dog
   training this must be it.
   
  Umbilical cords
  
   Put your dog on a medium-to-short leash and tie him to your belt. Now,
   go about the house on your ordinary business. Do not pay attention to
   the dog. It will quickly learn to pay attention to you to determine
   when you are going to get up and walk around, or where you are going.
   This is an especially effective exercise with puppies and also lays a
   good foundation for learning to heel later. Start with short periods
   of time, say 15 minutes, and work up as your puppy gets older and more
   familiar with this exercise.
   
  Watching
  
   If you look up and catch your dog watching you (this is different from
   the staring contests mentioned above because the dog is not "staring"
   at you when he is watching you move around), praise him.
   
  Food in your mouth, spitting it at your dog
  
   An excellent exercise for teaching attention. It gets the dog to
   concentrate directly on your face, not your hands or pocket. Do this
   as a separate exercise, until your dog understands that he must watch
   your face. Also, DON'T let them pick up the food from the floor or
   ground. If you do, they will learn that they don't have to catch the
   treat. They can just wait and pick it up. And don't let them come back
   later to clean up.
   
  Talking softly
  
   Talk softly to your dog. He will have to pay more attention to you.
   This is especially effective when younger, and is a good habit to get
   into.
   
  Attention as part of the exercise
  
   Integrate attention into the exercises themselves. For example,
   heeling is not just keeping to your side in the proper manner, it's
   also *paying attention* while heeling. Demand this attention as part
   of the heeling exercise, and your dog's heeling ability should
   improve.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Corrections

   You should never correct when you yourself are upset, angry or
   downright mad, especially at your dog. Good correction depends on
   timing, a keen awareness of what the dog is thinking, and quick
   switching between correction and praise, all of which are difficult
   when you are upset. Stop the exercise until you regain your
   equilibrium. You will have much difficulty training your dog if you
   continually get mad while doing it. In fact, if you always or often
   get mad when training your dog, someone else should train him. You
   will get absolutely nowhere yelling at your dog.
   
   The dictum "don't train before 6 months of age" doesn't make any sense
   unless you're talking about the _correction_ involved in formal
   obedience training. If you think about it, you train your dog all the
   time whether you realize it or not. Dogs are great at picking up your
   body language and tone of voice. Even if you're not trying to train
   them, they're "training" themselves using the clues we give them (and
   many "problems" are classic cases of the dogs misunderstanding their
   owner's signals).
   
   If possible with a young puppy it is best to use the "correction" of
   distraction. When you deny the puppy something, try to replace it with
   a positive activity rather than just being negative and oppressive all
   the time. Otherwise, limit your corrections to a verbal "no."
   
   Most dogs at some point will refuse to do something that he knows how
   to do. this is independent of how he has been trained. Striking out
   for independence appears to be a semi-universal mammalian trait,
   judging from the behavior of human adolescents. However, you must be
   prepared to enforce the idea that the dog does not really have an
   option about doing what you tell him to do. Otherwise the dog will
   increasingly choose whether or not to obey you and become unreliable.
   You do have to know the dog you are training and be able to tell the
   difference between confusion and refusal. Correcting a confused dog is
   quite detrimental. Learning how to tell the difference is part of
   being a trainer. While no one can really teach you this skill, you do
   have to learn it.
   
   Always praise the dog immediately when he listens to your corrections.
   Again, this gives the "jekyll and hyde" feel to dealing with your dog.
   But it is very important to immediately praise your dog for listening
   to you. This helps build confidence and keeps the dogs from having
   that "hang-dog" look when performing.
   
  Proofing
  
   Proofing is a method where you make sure your dog understands a
   command, _after_ you have taught the dog the command. It isn't fair to
   proof a dog on a command when he is still learning what it means.
   
   For example, you teach your dog to stay. After making him stay in a
   relatively distraction-free environment, you step up the pressure. You
   throw balls up in the air and catch them, squeak toys, have someone
   stand near your dog and talk softly to him. If your dog gets up,
   gently put him back. If after doing this for a while, the dog still
   gets up, then you start putting him back less gently, i.e. taking your
   dog roughly by the collar and putting him back, escalating to picking
   your dog up by the collar so that his front legs come off the ground
   and VERY slowly putting him back in its place, escalating to picking
   the dog up by its skin so that him front legs come off the ground and
   VERY slowly putting him back. Some dogs get the idea more quickly than
   others; stop your correction when he stays down.
   
   When your dog passes this step, increase the pressure by throwing
   balls all around him, bouncing them on the ground, etc. Also, someone
   else should try to offer him food, make strange noises such as
   clapping , barking like a dog, meowing like a cat, using toys or
   things that make strange noises.
   
   When your dog passes this step, increase the pressure by putting him
   on a stay and having someone shout in a loud voice "ROVER, COME!" (do
   not use your dog's name), "OK", "DOWN" (if doing a sit stay). If at
   home, put him on a stay and go and ring the doorbell. It should take
   several months (6-8) to work through all of these distractions and
   care must be taken to not blow the dog's mind by putting him in a
   situation that he is not ready for or by never letting the dog "win"
   (i.e., successfully perform an exercise).
   
   Always let the dog "win" on the last exercise in the session. That is,
   end the sessions on positive notes, with much praise. This keeps your
   dog interested in the work.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Using Food

   The use of food in training dogs has a long and contentious history.
   Many people dislike the use of food, feeling that a dog should do
   things because YOU ask him to, not in hope of a reward. They point to
   dogs that will refuse to do things when they know they won't get food
   for it. Others advocate the use of food in training, saying that for
   many dogs it is the best reward to use, that the use of food is a much
   more humane method of teaching dogs, and that it is an excellent way
   to motivate a dog.
   
   Certainly each side has some valid points. For example, the repeated
   use of food as a _bribe_ will quite often result in the dog refusing
   to do the expected exercise without the bribe being held out. However,
   this is considered and incorrect usage of food by food advocates.
   There is a difference between _bribing_ with food and _rewarding_ with
   food. Under the latter system, the dog never knows whether or not it
   will get food as a result of performing the exercise; the rules of
   variable reinforcement mean that the dog will try harder and harder
   for that reward. The problem is that many folks don't know how to
   reward intermittently, and it's also true that rewards are more
   frequent while the dog is learning the exercise and taper off when the
   dog understands it. Many people fail to notice the dog's progress, and
   fall into habits, and hence into bribery.
   
   On the other hand, not every dog becomes an enthusiastic performer for
   verbal praise or toys along. With some exceptions, almost every dog
   will view food as a good reward and modify his behavior accordingly to
   get more of it.
   
   The controversy is really rooted in more philosophical considerations
   than in actual performance (or not) from the use (or not) of food.
   Some people just plain don't like the idea of rewarding with food, and
   others do not mind using it.
   
   The bottom line is that, food or not, most dogs need a reward, a
   motivator, in order to put on their best effort in training. And the
   trainer needs to understand (and observe) how to apply the reward most
   effectively.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Training and Corrective Collars

   There are several kinds of collars. There are the plain flat buckled
   ones for everyday use available in a wide variety of colors, sizes and
   fastners (from buckles to quick-release).
   
   Note that puppies do not need corrective collars.
   
   For training purposes, there are choke collars (also called training
   collars), pinch collars and prong collars. Used properly, there is
   nothing wrong with any of these collars, although they often look
   rather alarming. The point is that these collars are for control, not
   for pain infliction. Yanking savagely on these collars is
   counterproductive; firm corrections get the point across without
   injury. Try this experiment: wrap each of the collars around your arm
   in turn and have someone experienced with corrections give a
   correction to your arm.
   
   To prevent your dog from injury from corrective collars, do not leave
   them on when you are not around. Its usual collar should be a plain
   flat buckled collar; save the choke and prong collars for actual
   training and when you are around.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Resources

   It is, of course, beyond the scope of this article to discuss any more
   advanced obedience exercises in any kind of detail. However, there are
   many resources if you are interested in further obedience training.
   
  Books
  
   There are many, _many_ books out there on training. A sample includes:
   
    Behavior Training, Shaping
    
   Benjamin, Carol Lea. _Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way To Train Your
   Dog_. Howell Book House, New York. 1985. ISBN 0-87605-666-4. $15.95
   hardcover.
   
     She uses praise, contact, play and toys to motivate puppies, but
     she does not recommend food training a young puppy. She does
     recommend crate training and she also recommends sleeping in the
     same room with the puppy. She provides methods to teach no, OK,
     good dog, bad dog, sit stay heel, come, down, stand, go, enough,
     over, out, cookie, speak, take it, wait and off to puppies. She
     talks about canine language and talks some about mental games you
     can play with your dog such as mirror games, and copying your dog
     and having him copy you, chase games and even playing rough with
     your puppy. Most training methods rely on the foundational
     relationship between an owner and his dog, and this book provides
     some ideas on establishing that relationship while the puppy is
     still young.
     
   Brahms, Ann and Paul. _Puppy Ed._. Ballantine Books. 1981.
   SBN:0-345-33512-0 (paperback).
   
     Describes how to start teaching your puppy commands. This is a
     thoughtful book that discusses in practical detail what you can and
     cannot expect to do with your puppy in training it. They stress
     that by expecting and improving good behavior from the start,
     later, more formal training goes much easier.
     
   Pryor, Karen. _Don't Shoot The Dog_
   
    Obedience Training
    
   Baer, Ted. _Communicating with Your Dog_. Barron's, New York. 1989.
   ISBN 0-8120-4203-4 (oversized paperback).
   
     Heavily illustrated with color photos. A sensible approach to
     laying a good foundation for extensive obedience training (even if
     you don't take the dog any further than what's outlined in here).
     Simple instructions for teaching a 20-word language, with emphasis
     on understanding and building on previous work.
     
   Bauman, Diane L. _Beyond Basic Dog Training_. New, updated edition.
   Howell Book House (Maxwell Maxmillan International), New York. 1991.
   ISBN: 0-87605-410-6.
   
     Emphasis is on training a "thinking" dog rather than a
     pattern-trained dog. Extensive manual on obedience training.
     Communication and understanding are discussed. A well known and
     often recommended book.
     
   Burnham, Patricia Gail. _Playtraining Your Dog_. St. Martin's Press,
   175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. c1980. ISBN 0-312-61691-0 (trade
   paperback).
   
     An excellent book that describes how to use play to motivate your
     dog through obedience training. She focuses on how to teach each
     exercise in the AKC Novice, Open, and Utility classes. Her
     philosophy, though, lends itself to any type of training. Well
     written and informative. For you greyhound lovers, all her dogs and
     inside photos are of greyhounds.
     
   Dildei, _Schutzhund Obedience: Training in Drive_.
   
     This book actually has far more applications than simply to
     Schutzhund, which is a three point German
     Protection/Obedience/Tracking program. This book discusses
     extensively how to increase your dog's drive and motivation for the
     activity at hand.
     
   Lewis, Janet. _Great Dogs, Brilliant Trainers_, 1997.
   
     This book explains all about learning theory, operant conditioning
     (both pos. and neg. reinforcement and pos. and neg. punishment),
     and classical conditioning. It's not a "how to" book in the sense
     that she doesn't explain how to teach a specific exercise. Instead,
     Janet uses dog training examples to illustrate the concepts of
     different schedules of reinforcement, when to use them, why
     positive and negative reinforcement work, when classical
     conditioning is helpful, etc.
     
  Magazines
  
     Front and Finish
     P.O. Box 333
     Galesburg, IL 61402-0333
     1-309-344-1333
     Obedience related information.
     
  Mailing list
  
   There are several mailing lists for the person interested in obedience
   training.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
   
    Training Your Dog FAQ
    Cindy Tittle Moore, rpd-info@netcom.com
    
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