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Pros & Cons of Dog Training Approaches


With many dog training methods available on the market, it can be hard to decide which the best training approach for your dog is. This article discusses the pros and cons of different dog training approaches and looks at which training methods are best for which breeds and dog temperaments: from obedient to naughty dogs, and from slow to fast learners.

Clicker Training

for dogs is often thought of as one of the best dog training methods. Clicker training literally involves using a clicker as positive reinforcement for when a dog has carried out a task or displayed good behavior – for example using a ‘click’ instead of saying ‘good boy’. The clicker is implemented when training a new obedience, as the dog associates the ‘click’ sound with the correct behavior.

The pros of clicker training is that it enables dogs to learn new behavior quickly and can be carried out for longer than reward-based training exercises. The clicker exercise allows dogs to easily discover what is black and white when it comes to desired behaviors and build a bond with their master.

One of the major cons of clicker training is that if it is not done properly, dogs can quickly forget the learned behaviors from this method. Also, it is not suitable for dogs with a short attention span who are only encouraged by food and treats. To put it politely, this is a good method for ‘intelligent’ dogs such as border collies but may not be the best method for very naughty dogs with a short attention span.

Reward Training

Reward training is a method of positive reinforcement in which you reward your dog – say with a biscuit or treat – every time a positive behavior is demonstrated. For example, if you want your dog to settle easily and not to bark and howl, then you should approach them with a treat/reward when they are sitting quietly on their bed. When giving your dog a reward you should encourage them in a high pitched voice and praise them for their good behavior. This has been proven as effective with even the naughtiest of dogs.

The main downside of reward training is that it is not very effective with dogs who are not interested in treats – whether food or toys – as they will soon lose interest with the training and not be spurred on by the incentive of a reward for good behavior.

Traditional Dog Training

Traditional dog training methods include correcting the dog’s behavior through physical actions, such as forcing them into the movement whilst ushering a command. For example, if you say ‘sit’ and your dog does nothing, you may say the command again whilst pushing their bottom to the floor, sitting them in the desired position.

Although this is considered by some to be a dated method of training, it can be effective in dogs who fail to respond to reward or clicker-based training: so this could be saved for the naughtiest of dogs!

Whether sticking to one training method or trying a combination, once you have found the right method of training for you and your dog, then the training possibilities are limitless.

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Image of dog training by maplegirlie

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