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Q: What type of training methods do you prefer?

January 28, 2009 | By nanette C. | 29 answers | Expired: 2042 days ago

nanette C.

I'm wondering what type of training methods people prefer: clicker - food rewards - crate - electric shock collars, etc. What have you found to work best for your dog(s) and why?

Readers' Answers (29)
Marty T.
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Jan 28, 2009

Reward-based training is the best way to train any living being, including humans. There isn't a need to just use food. Play is more powerful for most. Also, real life rewards should be used as often as possible to get the animal to offer behaviors for what it wants.

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Sarah C.
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Jan 28, 2009

I prefer and use positive reinforcement. What that means to me is rewarding the dog for doing stuff I want him to do, and not rewarding him for stuff I don't want him to do. Also for training new behaviors - in most cases I would use food initially but not always. There are non-food things that really turn my dogs on, such as tug, fetch, or frisbee so I also use them and other non-food rewards. For training my own dogs I prefer to use a clicker - I just think it's faster and easier to mark a behavior but it can be just as effective to use a marker word such as "Yes".

From a philosophical point of view, I would not use someting unpleasant to train a dog to do a new behavior or to prove to him I am a superior being. There's a time and place for punishment if it's called for in serious behavior problems after all else has failed, but for the majority of dogs I encounter (and certainly my own) I want them to be enthusiastic about learning throughout their lives.

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justine s.
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Jan 28, 2009

Marty T hit the nail on the head!
Positive doesn't just mean food.. but play (like tug/ chase/ ball toss etc) and praise can be even more effective for some dogs.... i trained Nellie almost totally with a STICK (throwing it for her.. not hitting her with it!!!!)

If you use positive methods, you will be blown away by how quickly you get results and how much your dog will actually be excited to work for you! Not only that, your dog will love learning and will respect you instead of fearing you.

i mean, would you be more motivated to go to work if you were going to get a nice big fat pay check - or that you would get a nice electric shock if you didn't show up???

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