Dog Training Made Simple

Jason Dunn writes about the basics of , with a specific reference to Border Collies.

Understanding dog means, really, understanding how think. There are many different methods and approaches to , and many of them work equally well.

Dog creates a kind of language that both you and your dog can understand. The dog learns what you expect. Dogs in training become anxious and nervous when they know their owners are displeased. Dogs, like children, feel safest when they have a structure, a routine, and rules to live by.

lets your dog know what is expected of him; this creates a sense of security. It gives a dog specific tasks and expectations to meet, which gives the dog a sense of accomplishment. The best dog training takes into account the basic drives and needs of different breeds of dogs. Working breeds, for example, expect to have work to do and thrive best when working. For example, a border collie has a strong herding instinct. If “its people” spread out around the house, it can make the dog anxious. The dog may run back and forth and bark. The owner may think this is annoying or anxious behavior on the part of the dog, and that training is the answer. But the dog is simply following its basic programming. Some collie owners acquire a family of ducks for their dog to “boss around;” this satisfies the dog’s herding instinct, and the ducks don’t mind.

Dog training is based on what is called operant conditioning. Dogs learn to associate a stimulus with a response. A dog reacts to a doorbell because they have learned that means a stranger is approaching. A dog response to the smell of or the sound of a can opener because he has learned to associate that with being fed. A dog learns to recognize the jingling of a as a signal for going for a walk.

In classic conditioning, dogs learn to relate one event with another. Some conditioned response dog training involves reward and punishment. Rewards result in behavior a dog is eager to repeat; punishment results in behavior a dog is eager to avoid. A pull on the or a harsh word is a punishment; a treat, a pat, or praise is a reward.

Jason Dunn is a writer and administrator for Crate Training Dog, a site that specializes in leash training.

Border Collie Merchandise

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AGILITY: Will weave

AGILITY: Will weave

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AGILITY: Will weave

Let's Go! Border Collie (Brindle)

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On the Agility Course

On the Agility Course

Dog Breeds

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Comments

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  4. Hi Jason,

    Regarding the Leash Training, do you know if using both opertant training such as a “word” or sound would work best with leash training? Or do you think that words alone would suffice.

    Thanks,
    Anthony

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