At Doran’s Canine College, we believe that the relationship between a dog and it’s family should be based on mutual trust and a desire to be together. The dog trusts the family to feed and care for it, and the family trusts the dog to be a friendly companion. Both desire a relaxed environment where they can be themselves and enjoy each others company.
However, dogs and people have different social norms and ways to communicate. Dogs have a pack mentality where the dog’s position in the pack is largely related to its size and strength compared to the next dog. Dogs like to greet people by jumping up on them. This can be freighting to someone that doesn’t know the dog and undesirable even if they do because of toenails, dirty feet, etc. Obedience training is a way to help the dog find its position in the family and learn to understand some basic communications or commands.
At Doran’s we use proven traditional training methods. We use a carrot and a stick. When a dog obeys a command we give it praise in the form of verbal approval and/or petting. Either or both can be used. When a dog does not obey a command that it knows, we give it a verbal correction and/or a quick pop on the collar. Again either or both can be used. We do not use treats. We want the dog to obey the command because it respects and wants to please it’s family member.
In order for obedience training to give the most benefit, the master must clearly communicate their intentions to their dog through appropriate use of praise and correction. It isn’t enough that the dog works for the trainer, it must work for the family. To do this, the family members must earn the respect of the dog through clear communications and leadership. If the dog does as desired they need praise to let them know this. If the dog does not do as desired they need to know it and this is communicated via a correction. The dog needs this praise or correction quickly so they can associate the feedback with the action. To build confidence and understanding, this requires a lot of repetition. A master that can do this is a good master and will have a happy dog.