Does Dog Training Always Have to End on a Good Note?
thanks hdwallpapersfan for the photo!
Does dog training always have to end on a good note; this was a very interesting question that was recently posed in a dog training forum I am a part of and I thought it was really thought provoking.
So think about it, does your training always need to end positive or on a good note?
I think we get use to thinking that the answer is YES.
When I was a young trainer I was always told to end training on a good note, but in most respects we were not training in the most positive manner.
This was back in the day when yank and pull and force was the most popular way to train a dog.
When there is a lot of force or compulsion there is a lot of conflict.
The dog doesn’t understand (in a lot of cases) he feels pain or discomfort so he complies but it isn’t a lot of fun.
Even if you pair treats with the leash corrections, electric shock, or whatever way you are forcing the dog there is still conflict. You are taking the choice out of it for the most part or forcing the dog until the dog chooses what you are trying to teach at which time the pain or discomfort stops and a treat is delivered.
I believe that there is still a great deal of conflict going on in a dog’s mind even if a treat is given or a toy is played with after the fact.
So in this case, I would say YES, yes, yes, you would need to end the training session on a good note.
You are forcing the dog to comply if he doesn’t listen anyway, so you should definitely end with a treat or a toy, or a game so that the dog doesn’t feel totally defeated.
However I Don’t Like Compulsion, Corrections, Punishment or Force
I don’t like the conflict that force brings to our relationship.
I believe in teaching and rewarding behaviors as they happen or as I lure or capture them.
I also want a thinking dog, and I think that dogs that are constantly forced to comply or show certain behaviors are less likely to think and problems solve and that makes them harder or more difficult to train to do complex behaviors.
AND I Like a Dog to Perform Complex Behaviors
Simple obedience is great, but I like a dog that can perform a high level of obedience and lots of complex other behaviors.
Dogs that are constantly forced to comply with obedience have trouble grasping complex behaviors or are worried about getting corrections or pain if they make a mistake.
I don’t want my dog to feel that way; I want my dog to know it is not a big deal if she makes a mistake.
I Don’t Always End Dog Training on a Good Note
I don’t always end my dog training on a good note, sounds weird right?
The idea sounds so counter intuitive to what we have always heard.
But what happens when my dog doesn’t listen?
How Do I Correct a Dog that Isn’t Listening if I Don’t Use Compulsion or Force?
How do I correct a dog that isn’t listening or ignores my commands if I don’t use compulsion?
I end my training that is how I teach my dog to listen.
I take away my dog’s favorite thing; which is interaction with me and training.
So, in this particular instance we don’t end on a good note. In fact, in this instance we end kind of on a negative note.
Although I use positive reinforcement, I can’t let my dog get away with murder(so to speak) so that doesn’t mean that everything is always positive.
Sometimes I take away what she wants!
It sounds so simple, but all it takes is a couple times of losing what you really want and you have a desire to listen!
It’s Just Good Parenting
I have a friend that I very much respect as a parent, and even when h
er baby was very young if she threatened to do something she would do it.
I remember one night sitting at a restaurant having dinner. Her daughter was fussy and probably about 5. She told her very simply that if she didn’t stop they would leave.
I watched her daughter think about it and continue to fuss. Immediately she summoned the check and a couple of boxes and they left.
It was NOT what her daughter expected and I was sad too. But I will tell you it NEVER happened again. If she said stop or…. Her daughter respected her and did as she was told because she wanted to hang out.
My dog is the same way, if she misbehaves I take away what she wants.
It doesn’t happen very often, but usually it is all I need to get her behavior in line.
So does training always have to end on a good note? NO sometimes there are consequences for naughty behavior.
But you have to hope it does!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.