Puppy Training – House Breaking
It is a good idea to find out if possible, exactly what the puppy’s environment was before you brought him home. This will tell you what the puppy was accustomed to messing on in the early stages of life. (i.e. was it a newspaper litter box style, sawdust or shavings as in a barn or pet store, cement floor as in a kennel run, or maybe a grass bottom playpen.)
This information will help to determine what will immediately work for your puppy. The most common method of house-breaking is paper training. When using this method, you will need to spread papers, a couple layers thick in a certain area of the puppies most used room in the house. Also, you will need to spread some newspapers in the area of the yard where you want the puppy to make his bathroom. (of course weather permitting) Weight these down with rocks or bricks in the beginning stages.
Try to not allow the puppy to have access to the whole house as this is just too much territory for him to be able to handle in the early stages. This only reinforces long term housebreaking. Gradually over the first 4 months, after you have brought him into your home, you can start allowing him access to other areas unsupervised. When you catch the puppy in the act, but missing the papers, gather him up in your arms, scold him with a growling “BAD PUPPY”, outdoors, take him outside to the designated bathroom area. Read the rest of this entry »
Most Common Mistakes when training Dogs
You probably know that dog training can be done in a variety of ways. However, most methods used in this activity nowadays have in common one key-word: positive reinforcement as the most efficient way of training dogs. Indeed, statistics show that almost all of those successful training systems are based on positive reinforcement.
But no matter what training program you chose, you are likely to commit one or more of the most common errors. You should read this information in order to avoid them, because these three serious mistakes will make training sessions tiring and ineffective.
The first one consists in the lack of constancy. As you know, regular practice and repetition is the main condition for learning. For instance, after performing successfully a certain command, the dog receives a reward; it will expect to receive exactly the same reward after accomplishing exactly the same action. This is the way your dog understands the reward approach and this is how it learns.
But if you reward it sometimes and fail to do that other times before the dog gets the chance to learn, it will get confused. So the key to success lies in remaining consistent and not interrupting training sessions for long periods of time.
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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.