The Theory behind Clicker Training
Operant Conditioning is the name given to the way that an animal interacts and learns from its environment. This applies to any animal including human beings. Put simply, it means that they will repeat an action that results in a positive consequence and not repeat an action that results in a negative consequence. This principle can be applied to the training of your dog in both ways. If you reward the dog, he will do it again. This is positive reinforcement. If you punish the dog, he won’t do it again. This is punishment.
Most training professionals suggest positive reinforcement or reward as the better method of training. In either case, the problem is that the dog does not understand English, and so you can not sit him down and have a long talk explaining the reason for the reward or the need for punishment. The only way either is effective or understood by the dog is if it takes place at fairly close to the exact time the behavior takes place.
If you tell your dog to sit and he does so, you can not then run into the house for a dog treat and expect him to associate the treat with the behavior. Many trainers feel even the short delay in getting the treat out of your pocket and into his mouth might be too long for true positive operant conditioning to take place.
The solution is to find a conditioned reinforcer. This is something that the animal would not normally consider as a good consequence and would not work to receive. A primary reinforcer is the food or treats that the dog would be willing to work to receive. So, the conditioned reinforcer is coupled with the positive reinforcer and in the dogs mind they become equal. This is where the clicker comes into play. A clicker is a tiny metal toy that makes a clicking noise when pressed and released. It is the toy that used to be called a cricket. At the same time that the click is sounded, the dog is given a treat. When this has been done for a length of time, the dog will associate the click with the treat. The conditioned reinforcer has become a primary reinforcer. In other words, the click has become a reward.
Feeding your Dog
Dogs need different diets at different ages. Yes. This is true. For example, the puppy needs milk as the major food item while an adult dog may need beef or chicken in addition to the boiled egg and milk. So depending on the age factor, the diet schedule varies in reality for the dogs like any other species.
Puppies need greater amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates than an adult dogs. Furthermore, puppies need more frequent feeding schedules in a day, unlike an adult dog. The movement based requirements of diet are more in the case of puppies, since they are often more active than the adult dogs.
Elder dogs need restricted protein but the protein needs to be easily digestible and easily assimilated in the body. The diet schedule should have ample supply of water for them. Feeding aged dogs too much protein may finally lead to over burden to the renal structures and ultimately, the dog may end up damaging filters in the kidney.
This is true especially when the immune system of these dogs is compromised due to many factors. Similarly, the elderly dogs need less food only because the movements of the adult dogs are highly restricted and hence, they have to spend a limited of energy.
Female dogs in the pregnancy stage need not be fed a full stomach since it may cause some discomforts to the animal. However, the pregnant animal and the nursing animal need special type of food items that deliver a balanced type of nutrition with proper supplementation of vitamins and minerals.
The nursing animal with puppies need to be fed with enough amounts of calcium and hence, there will not be any calcium based deficiency and the bones of the puppies will be strong without any curving.