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What do you think is the best obedience training method?

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by MGR1000, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. MGR1000

    MGR1000 Puppy

    So we have been looking to expand training for both of our dogs and get Gunner in a more advanced training class. He listens very well at home, but not so much in areas he is easily distracted.

    I have been to a couple meetings with a couple trainers and it seems that trainiers (at least the two I have met with) are saying that training with treats/clicker are not great in high distraction situations.

    One trainer uses the E collar. Not in a way for punishment but they use it on the lowest setting possible to get your dogs attention to listen.

    The other person used prong collars and you would correct the dog when it didn't listen and highly praise them when they did something correct.

    So I guess I want to know, is this a trend now with dog training?? Are people not wanting to do positive only training anymore? Does it truly not ever going to be enough? The situation they told me is like if you dog is chasing a cat, they will not come back to you if you have only used a treat for reward in the past because the reward of catching that cat is higher than that treat they had received for good behavior.

    I just thought that working with your dog with positive reinforcement was more about bonding, trust and establishing a leader role and that with that they will listen. Maybe I have to high expectations?

    I would love everyone's experiences and opinions. Right now I'm going to continue our training at home with what I feel comfortable with.
    Leslie H likes this.
  2. Madeleinemom

    Madeleinemom MS Bites, My Dog Didn't Staff Member Super Moderator

    I have seen a range of methods, which includes positive only to e-collars ...

    Training dogs is a business segment like any other - you have trends and fads and shifts in philosophy.

    My own perspective is that we sometimes simply expect too much of our dogs - such as in the cat-chasing scenario you described. In that situation, pure instinct will most likely eliminate any methodology you have used and most dogs will purse that cat with utter abandon - it is just too much fun! To avoid that situation, I have learned that I have to pre-empt the behavior by leashing the dog or making sure he is only in fenced areas where the cat can get away, because I would stand no chance with clickers, treats ... and he would probably yank the prong to bits and pieces.

    In general, I personally prefer positive reinforcement training, more rewarding for both the human and the canine :)
  3. Capt. Roxy

    Capt. Roxy Good Dog Premium Member

    With all my dogs and couple fosters I have had I've only used reward based training. I tried the prong collar for 2-3 weeks on and off but I stopped. I'm not sure how I honestly felt about those 2 weeks... I don't think I liked it very much. I didn't know my dog too well and I was afraid she may hurt another dog but with working with a behaviorist and getting to truly know my dog I have never went back to it. Is she 100% perfect on leash, oh heck no, but I do now know my dog and she is getting better day by day and we are almost where we want to be.
    I personally know a lot of people who use corrective along with reward for their dogs and some of their dogs are totally out of control. I really think it's a personal choice and knowing what works best with your dog. Not every method will work for one dog and their handler as it did for another. I believe there needs to be a trust/bond and once it is there, there really isn't much a dog would not do for their person. They are just so loving, loyal, and they live their life as if the only reason for their sole existence is to make their person happy.
    Madeleinemom said it best... we just expect way too much of our dogs sometimes. Instincts will be instincts. :)
  4. BCdogs

    BCdogs Good Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    With my dog Piggy, I use mostly positive reinforcement. She is very praise and food driven, and also just extremely obedient naturally because she wants to be near her people. She has a very soft personality and harsh corrections would do way more harm than good with her. Every once in a while I will use verbal corrections, but I rarely have to. I have called her off of deer, squirrels, other dogs, etc., and she has never failed to come back to me.

    With my dog Squirt, it's an entirely different story. While he is very food driven also, he is independent, high-strung, animal aggressive, and easily distracted. No toy, meal or praise will ever be more important to him than chasing an animal or reacting at something going by. In his case, the e-collar has been the most important tool I've ever used, and has seriously changed our lives. We use it in conjunction with food as a reward, so he does not see it as a negative thing at all. He gets very excited when the collar comes out.

    My opinion is that the best method is the method that works for the individual dog. I don't personally subscribe to the idea that one training method works for all dogs. I think it's extremely important to identify your dog's personality type and what drives them and then use that to your advantage however you can.
  5. Derek1

    Derek1 Big Dog

    Good post BC
  6. Leslie H

    Leslie H Good Dog

    I train primarily positively. I used to use a lot of compulsion in my training, but I put my prong collars away about 8 years ago. The agility training is almost all positive, corrections are witholding a reward.In this video, my dog is not supposed to get off the dogwalk until I say OK. You can hear her screaming because I made her wait, rather than continue on immediately, to correct her. She is a high drive, pushy, impulsive dog. I do use some compulsion, household manners, stealing toys, etc. She does have moderately awful leash manners, though she has improved greatly. My 8 month old pup has been trained almost purely positively, but she's hitting her teen months now.

    So, did the e-collar advocates feel they could call their dog off a cat or a deer w/out an e-collar or fake collar on? I've called my dog off a squirrel, does that count?
    MGR1000 likes this.
  7. Noah George

    Noah George Little Dog

    I'm of a similar mindset to BC. The best training method is the one that works for not just the dog, but the owner as well, and communicates effectively.

    There are all kinds of factors that can have an effect including the dog's personality/temperament, the owner's comfort zone, the owner's skills or the skills they're inclined toward and are willing to develop further, possible physical limitations, situational factors, the level of the dog's training...

    I'm a firm believer that while all dogs learn by the four quadrants, they also, just like people, learn better by different methods or approaches. Sometimes that can change depending on what you're working on, how advanced the training may or may not be, or the level of distraction. Most dogs aren't delicate flowers that are would be destroyed by a physical correction, while for some even the mildest of verbal corrections is hugely aversive and they shut down; meanwhile, for others still, sometimes they need a physical correction for them to understand they really can't be doing something. In some cases it may be necessary for the owner to use a tool, usually a training collar of some sort, to regain a distracted dog's attention; sometimes it just takes saying the dog's name or a snap of the fingers, and they look back.

    I don’t honestly keep up with dog training trends, I mostly just read, watch, and incorporate what makes sense to me and always try to keep an open and creative mind. After all, training is not just science: it’s also an applied science, communication, and art. I do feel that trust and respect and especially fairness are keys to a good working relationship with a dog, and if there’s a bond then that relationship improves exponentially. At least, that has been my experience.

    I had typed up a bunch more, which was mostly training advice for your situation, but it made this a lot longer. I can send it to you in a private conversation if you'd like or, if you would prefer, I can post it here. If you're interested, of course. It's mostly about training with distractions.
    Leslie H and MGR1000 like this.
  8. MGR1000

    MGR1000 Puppy

    Thank you! It's nice to reads everyone's experience with this.
    I do agree that each dog is different. I also think that multiple training methods may be used for the same dog in different situations. Anyone train their dogs at home without a trainer? Did you use a book? Something online? I would love some suggestions.
  9. MGR1000

    MGR1000 Puppy

    She is so vocal!
    Loved the video. She seems to be having a lot of fun.
    Leslie H likes this.
  10. Coral Drake

    Coral Drake Puppy

    I know this thread is old, but if someone wants to update the latest information about most popular dog training methods, which one is most effective, which one is outdated now, just check this post: https://k9deb.com/best-dog-training-methods/

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