Training Tidbits & Tools
At Brookline Labrador Retriever Rescue, we believe that it is very important to train your new lab to be well-mannered, good canine citizens!! While there are many different methods of dog training, an increasingly popular philosophy is positive reinforcement training rather than punishment.
“We all like to be praised rather than punished,” states the Humane Society of the United States. “The same is true for your dog, and that’s the theory behind positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement means giving your pet something pleasant or rewarding immediately after she does something you want her to do. Because your praise or reward makes her more likely to repeat that behavior in the future, it is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your dog’s behavior.”
According to The Larimer Humane Society of Fort Collins, CO.,
- Strengthens and enhances the human animal relationship.
- Is used less and less as a behavior is learned to be most effective.
- Never leads to avoidance or avoidance related aggression.
- Never causes damage to your relationship if you make a mistake with your timing.
- Produces enthusiastic, happy people who love to train animals.
- Keeps dogs coming back for more and more training – they love it.
Other methods of training that work in conjunction with positive reinforcement consist of the Volhar Motivational Method, operant conditioning and clicker training: The Volhard Philosophy to raising and training dogs features a holistic approach to establish a mutually rewarding relationship between owner and dog. Their website, www.volhard.com, has much more in-depth description and information.
“Operant conditioning forms an association between a behavior and a consequence. (It is also called response-stimulus or RS conditioning because it forms an association between the animal’s response[behavior] and the stimulus that follows [consequence]),” according to www.wagntrain.com.
Clicker training works hand in hand with operant conditioning. Clicker training is the popular term for the training or teaching method based on what we know about how living organisms learn. Research has shown that any creature—whether a dog, cat, dolphin, parrot, fish, horse, llama, or person—is more likely to learn and repeat actions that result in consequences it desires and enjoys. So clicker trainers provide consequences desired by their animal in exchange for actions or behaviors desired by their trainers. These consequences are called “rewards” and the process is called “reinforcement.” Clicker training, therefore, is a positive-reinforcement-based system of training,” states www.clickertraining.com
There are several factions of positive reinforcement training and there are many books and websites designed to offer dog training solutions and techniques. Brookline does require that most of our adopted dogs attend obedience classes. It is very important for a dog owner is to be comfortable with their dog trainer. The APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) offers great support in finding a dog trainer in your area and what questions to ask the trainer to make sure that is the right trainer for you and your dog. More information can be found on the APDT website .
‘Brookline also has policies regarding allowable training tools. Chain choke collars and prong/cleat collars are permitted only if properly fitted by a trainer because they can very easily be misused and potentially cause injury to your dog. Also, any electronic devices other than invisible fence collars are not permitted under any circumstances. With that being said, there are many different training tools that can be used to help train your dog. Most of them are special collars or harnesses.
Different types of collars range from traditional flat, buckle or snap collars to training collars such as chain, prong, and martinggale. Most collars are fabricated from nylon or leather and the training collars are fabricated of metal chains or prongs. Leashes also can be made from these same materials and even rubber materials. They come in an array of different styles and lengths – ranging from 4 ft., 6 ft., and even 50 ft. leads to help with distance training. Retractable leads allow your dog a little more freedom but also the ability to keep close at the same time.
Some people find it difficult to walk their dogs on a traditional flat collar and choose harnesses or head halters. Some harnesses come with a leash attachment on the back and some have a leash attachment on the chest area to help alleviate the desire to pull. It is very easy for dog and handler to acclimate to the use of a harness. Head halters may look like a muzzle to some people until you explain what it is and how it helps your dog walk better. A head halter works much like a halter that a horse would wear. It loops around the dog’s nose and hooks behind the ears. A leash attachment is under the chin allowing the handler to guide their dog. Head halters can take a bit of getting used to on the dog’s and handler’s part but are a great tool to use.
As you can see, there is an array of different training styles, tools and techniques. The best recommendation is to do your research and find what works best for you and your dog. A professional trainer is your best source to determine which training device is best suited to your dog’s training needs. The content provided on these training aids is for informational purposes only.