Dog Training Approaches & Philosophies
We naturally love our dogs and they naturally love us in return. No matter what, they love us unconditionally. Unfortunately, this is not always the same sentiment in reverse, especially with respect to untrained dogs. Many untrained dogs can be problematic and ultimately end up in shelters. When these dogs are (hopefully) adopted, their behavioral problems are unwittingly adopted too. Although trained dogs can end up in shelters, this is a rare occurrence and they are often quickly adopted, which is yet another indication that trained dogs are highly valued.
Dog Training Approaches
So once you decide you are going to train your dog, the next question is how are you going to accomplish this task. Often times, the first thing that comes to mind is obedience classes at the local pet store or veterinarian clinic. Although taking weekly obedience classes are beneficial, especially for socialization and proofing with distractions, training still needs to be practiced at home. Otherwise, those weekly class commitments are seemingly a waste of time. Training needs to be practiced consistently at home to achieve successful results.
Some don’t have the time, interest or ability to train their own dog, but want their dog trained. In these cases, the best solution is to have someone else train their dog and participate in handler training. This is a great option for many with busy schedules, like working professionals and over-committed families. It is the quickest way to get successful training results. Even if you want to train your own dog, it could jump-start the process, which encourages continued success.
So, if you are really motivated to train your own dog or have someone else train your dog, what approach are you going to take? Whose training philosophy are you going to follow? This question is probably one of the most frequent web search queries, resulting in an astronomical number of different people telling you how to train your dog. It can be so confusing and overwhelming with the combination of dog training information and misinformation. The goal of this training series is to make sense out of all this information.
Dog Training Philosophies
Although there are as many ideas and approaches to training as there are different trainers, most training styles can be divided into 2 primary training camps that have vastly different training philosophies. On one end of the dog training spectrum are the trainers who believe that dogs are essentially wolves and should be viewed and treated as such. This is the basis of the Wolf’s Perspective. On the other end of the spectrum are trainers who believe dogs are more like children and should be trained only with positive rewards. This respresents the Human’s Perspective.
In our next installments, these two “popular” training philosophies will be compared and contrasted, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages for both dogs and their human companions. After reviewing these popular training philosophies, a third science-based training philosophy will be introduced and discussed. Although there are some similarities to the more popular dog training philosophies, a science-based training philosophy is founded on dog biology and the evolutionary history of dogs and their human companions. Please stay tuned for Part 4 of our series “How to Train Your Dog“, where these various training philosophies will be discussed in depth.