Training Methods Explained

Luring

Luring is a type of hands-off method where you guide your dog through a certain behavior. For instance, a food lure may be used for guiding a dog from going from sitting into a down. It is a common method of obtaining more complex behaviors. Typically lures are food. However, they can also be a target, tugs, toys, or anything else that your dog is willing to follow. It isn’t very hard to understand how to use and introduce a lure to your dog. However, knowing how to properly phase the lure out is quite important and is the hard part of learning how to lure.

Shaping

Shaping is a powerful tool that will enable you to build up a new behavior in a step by step fashion that reinforces small approximations of the desired behavior until your final goal is achieved. Every step represents part of the behavior and once your dog has achieved the fist step, we will then increase the difficulty gradually until the ultimate goal has been reached. Reinforcing successive approximations is what the process is referred to.

Capturing

Capturing the behavior of a dog is a highly effective method to use when you are training a dog. The animal is required to “think” about the specific situation. This method only uses behaviors that your dog freely offers. It also depends on your skills and patience. That is why our training and boarding programs are effective so frequently. Our professionals have great patience and excellent timing for guiding your dog. You basically will have to wait until your dog performs the desired behavior and then reward him instantly. The key is being very consistent, having great timing and repeating it numerous times. After we have captured a behavior successfully, we then pair it with a hand or verbal command. It is a fun and amazing process and one of our favorite training styles.

Molding

Molding involves guiding a dog physically or otherwise compelling him to perform a certain behavior. Pushing down on a dog’s rear while pulling on his collar is a molding method to teach him to sit. Using physical props is also included in molding, like placing tap on your dog’s face to get him to put his paw over his nose (for a trick) or working your dog against a wall in order to force him into a straight heel. Among some trainers, molding has a poor reputation. Although, some innocent techniques are included like heeling next to the wall so that a dog is encourage to move within a straight line, the method is associated with force by many trainers, and they often entirely dismissing molding. By doing this, they unfortunately risk completely ignoring a method that might potentially make it easier for pet-owner students to learn.

We do not utilize molding as a primary teaching method. However, we do make use of this tool as necessary when other methods are not successful. It is very important not to close yourself and using just one kind of training method, especially since we know that not all behavior cases or dogs are identical.

Operant Conditioning

This is a process that changes the response of an animal to a specific stimulus through manipulating the consequences immediately following the response. B.F. Skinner developed the five principles that are a part of operant conditioning. Clicker training is one of the subsets of operant conditioning. It only uses extinction, positive reinforcement, and to a lesser degree, negative punishment. In this learning process the likelihood of a certain behavior is either decreased or increased through negative or positive reinforcement every time the dog exhibits the behavior, so he comes to associate displeasure or pleasure of the behavior being reinforced.

Classical Conditioning

Also referred to as respondent or Pavlovian conditioning, classical conditioning is a learning process where an innate response to a powerful stimulus ends up being elicited as a response to a stimulus that was previously neutral. It is achieved through pairing the powerful stimulus with the neutral stimulus repeatedly. Ivan Pavlov discovered the basic facts regarding classical condition through his famous dog experiments. Classical conditioning, combined with operant conditioning, became behaviorism’s foundation. This form of psychology dominated mid-20th century psychology and is an important influence to this day on psychological therapy practice and animal behavior study. Classical conditioning is currently the best understood of all of the basic learning processes, and we are starting to understand its neural substrates.

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