Dog Training Method: Which Training Style is Most Effective?

October 28, 2019by brandiricole

While each dog training method is different, the basis behind dog training is to teach your dog to want to do desired tasks by setting them up for success and providing them with the chance to complete the desired task. If you are successful, you and your dog will reach an understanding of each other’s wishes. And the process is enjoyable for everyone involved. It is a win-win situation.

All local dog trainers have different methods of training. Which methods work best for you and your dog?

If you ask a group of dog trainers what dog training method works best, they will all have very different opinions. Most commonly, you will find dog trainers that would say that positive reinforcement works best, while others would say that corrective dog training methods works best. You will often find a lot of criticism about both methods based on which side of the spectrum dog trainers are on. Positive reinforcement dog trainers have been called stuff like “cookie pushers” and ‘treat slingers’, and the trainers that prefer corrective dog training methods have been called stuff like ‘choke folks’ or ‘cruel’. The reality is, it doesn’t have to be so black and white. To better understand dog training methods, let’s break them down.

All-Positive Training vs. Corrective Training

Positive reinforcement training is more reward-based. Positive reinforcement trainers often use treats, clickers, toys, and even games to help modify behavior. Trainers use both positive reinforcement by giving rewards for good behavior. They do this in order to encourage dogs to do the good behavior on their own. While some trainers think this is the best approach, others will say this purely-positive method doesn’t work effectively. because it can’t teach the dog that he is doing something wrong. While using rewards could be effective in training your dog a new trick or command, they may not solve more complex behavior issues that come up. An example could be taken from a dog jumping up in excitement — if a trainer ignores the behavior or gives the dog attention by petting it, the dog may think you’re playing with him or encouraging him.

Corrective dog training are more discipline-based. Trainers use correctional methods such as a light pull on the leash, using an electronic collar, or giving verbal correction. This type of dog training is based on showing that you are in charge and that your dog must learn to not continue the unwanted behavior. Some trainers say this is the most effective dog training method. While others will say that some trainers take correction too far which then becomes punishment. We never suggest punishing your dog (ie. spanking, yelling or rubbing nose in accident). Harsh corrections or punishments may create a poor relationship with your dog and often does more harm than good.

Our dog training method is labeled as “blended” or “balanced”. It can include positive reinforcement, such as well-timed praise and rewards. While also using calm verbal corrections for unacceptable behavior that can cause harm to themselves or others.

K9 Captain believes that the best dog training method takes the best parts of both worlds to create a healthy and effective balance of positive reinforcement and calm hands-off correction when necessary. We listen to our clients and take their preferences in account, while also monitoring what works best for your dog. Above all, K9 Captain believes building a strong bond and relationship is important. We must be a strong leader for our dogs and show them what is and is not acceptable behavior.

We believe treats should be used as a reward, not as a bribe. Rewards can be powerful tool when teaching a new skill or command with the use of treats, play, or affection. However, when using bribe the dog may learn that a cue for a certain behavior is only important when a treat is visible. If you feel like you have to bribe your dog to do a specific behavior, something went wrong during the training process.

We believe corrections should always be hands-off – never hit or spank your dog when correcting him. Corrections should only be used if you’re 100% sure your dog knows the command you’re using and is ignoring it. In other words, if your dog knows what they are doing is wrong. It is also important that you remain calm when giving verbal corrections, rather than shouting or intimidating your dog.

Our motto is “Calm, Confident, Consistent”. We have found that dog training is most effective when trainers and dog owners are calm, confident, and consistent with their training, We coach our clients on how to build a positive relationship with their dog while overcoming challenging behaviors with this motto.

Choosing a Local Dog Trainer

When you decide that you want to modify the behavior of your dog, what type of dog training method you want your local dog trainer to use is the most fundamental decision that you must make-namely are you going to base your training methods on rewards, corrections, or some combination of the two. It’s important to remember that every dog is different and there’s no one size fits all method of dog training. The best trainers consider the breed, personality, history and temperament of the individual dog. We are near the center of the dog training spectrum, with a slight lean towards the positive end. However, we personalize our dog training method for what works best for you and your dog.