Dog Behavior Training of Dogs - Methods

Beyond instinct: Many people believe that instinct is what controls the dog's behavior. Instinct is a concrete behavior to what is happening, which is brought about without prior experience. It's instinctive, and doesn't need to be learnt. For example a Dog Behavior Training Method for puppies, as soon as they're born they search for their mother's bosom to be fed. Other instinctive dog behavior which is important for their sociological development is marking their territory, gregarious conduct and reproduction. However, just because dog's have instinct it doesn't mean they control their behavior, since they can be modified or changed by the given experience. At this point is where canine "reasoning" comes in, which is the route to training. Fundamentally, the dog reasons or learns through dissuasion, association and by intuition.

Dissuasion or habit training: This is a primitive dog training method, where harmless stimulus is differentiated from those that aren't. For example, the first times the dog hears a siren or horn it gets sacred and tries running away. But, if it is calmed down, little by little it will get used to it, it understands that this stimulus is totally harmless and relates it with something usual.

Association training: This is s a very important part in the training and educating process. Association is obtained through conditioned reflexes or using the trial and error method.

Instincts, conditioned and non-conditioned reflexes
To obtain the best training possible it is important to clearly define the "instinct", "non-condition" and "condition" concepts.

  • Instincts are innate behaviors, not learned or generated within (through genetic or hormonal influence). Hereditary behavior isn't learnt or taught, but is developed in a natural way, without the need of previous experience. To train the dog properly it is important to know these behaviors, since the characteristics of each breed can be developed and enforced. Man can take advantage of these instincts modifying them through selective breeding and emphasizing them in relation with their ancestors. This way certain breeds are developed with more guarding instinct, personal defense, hunting, herding, etc., than others.
  • Non-conditioned reflexes (also called "innate or "unconditioned") are those that the animal responds to external factors, but in a constant and continued manner. For example; water, food or play, produce spontaneous reactions that the owner must control the best way possible.
  • Conditioned reflexes ("acquired" or "learnt") are those which the animal's behavior is managed or readdressed by man. The relation between the unknown object and the dog is temporal, since the moment the condition stops it forgets the association, and as a result the response.

In order to get the desired result from our dog it is essential that you use a need (hunger, thirst, play or company), an unconditioned stimulus or a conditioned stimulus (sounds, orders, signals). It's enough with an exercise program based on repetition, and trial and error to obtain the desired results. However, it's important to remember that the dog partially satisfies its needs, if not it will hinder the stimulus and sidetrack its behavior. A basic rule when training a dog is giving it a few minutes of free time to run around at the beginning of the training session. Gradually, the trainer will add a few modifications to its behavior which will help the dog receive it as established guidelines.

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