Different Dog Training Styles
By Jason Wright
December 20, 2022
Understanding Dog Training Styles
Essential to the well-being of your dog, training is an integral part of being a dog owner, just as much as providing them with love and care. Like us, dogs need education and structure to thrive, leading to happy and healthy family companions. Can you relate? Whether you have adopted a role as a dog owner, considering training or re-training, it's important to know the style and method of training you choose has a considerable impact on the result.
You may be wondering which dog training program you should enroll in. As you've probably already realized, there are quite a few training styles available to choose from and factors to consider. What are your expectations? What level of commitment and effort are you willing to put in? Are you training a puppy or an adult dog?
Thanks (or no thanks) to search engines like Google, we have instant access to dog training information and can quickly end up down a rabbit hole leading to many self-proclaimed “dog training experts.” However, we can assure you it takes years of education and experience to become a subject matter expert who truly understands the intricacies of a dog’s psychological and physiological makeup.
Though there's a lot to consider regarding dog training, looking for credible dog training programs that provide an effective, holistic and supportive delivery is essential. Choosing the right program aids in the healthy development of your dog's body and mind and enables you to be a confident leader.
Different Types of Dog Training
The style of training you choose should set you and your dog up for success and drive real, sustainable results. Comprehensive resources, an individualized approach, socialization and environmental training should be key factors in determining the right dog training program for you. With this in mind, it's important to find a dog training style that will not only work for your dog but will also provide you with the tools and foundation to be successful at home. Whether delivered privately, in a group setting or in a Board & Train facility, below are some of the most popular styles of training available:
DIY Dog Training:
Some dog owners will opt to train their dogs, utilizing online resources to show them how. While it is important and encouraged for all dog owners to educate themselves, this dog training style can have many serious consequences. Every dog is different and requires a different approach. Without working with a trainer or a team of professionals, you can make many mistakes that hinder your dog's training and encourage behavioural issues or bad habits without even knowing.
Some trainers or dog owners believe in the training style referred to as "alpha rolling." This technique addresses behavioural problems where only dominance is used and asserted over the dog. While this technique may seem appropriate, it is dangerous. This training style can hinder your relationship with your pet and cause your dog to become more aggressive, leading to problematic and fear-driven behaviours such as biting.
All positive training or positive reinforcement is a common style of dog training because it is often regarded as a “softer” approach. This style includes introducing something positive for your dog after a positive action has been completed. An example could be a treat for your dog after they have completed a command. While this is an effective technique, you cannot discourage your dog from inappropriate behaviour by only providing your dog with positive reinforcement. A better approach that helps to communicate clearly with your dog and set them up for success is to use a balanced approach of positive and negative reinforcements.
Balanced Dog Training:
This training style uses a combination of positive and negative reinforcements and punishments to show your dog that certain behaviours can either have a positive or a negative reaction. This helps to clearly communicate to your pet what behaviour is desired and what behaviour is discouraged. Balanced dog training is an effective style that helps reinforce boundaries, trust and leadership while teaching your dog how to make good decisions.
Benefits of Balanced Dog Training with iTK9
Balanced dog training is the method we use at iTK9, as it is the most effective training style and is conducted safely and ethically in the care of our team. Through our holistic approach, we work with dogs mentally and physically to shape happy, healthy, well-balanced companions.
The focus is quite simple; show your dog that certain behaviours can have a positive or negative reaction. This is done using the four quadrants of balanced dog training.:
Negative reinforcement can be defined as the removal of something unpleasant once the desired outcome has been achieved. One example often given is pushing down on your dog's rear end after the sit command has been given. Once your dog sits, the pressure on its rear is removed.
Negative punishment is often in reaction to an undesired action performed by your dog, where you remove something desirable. This can include taking a ball away from your dog when they become possessive of it and acts out aggressively.
Positive punishment includes an unwanted action towards your dog after an undesired action has been performed. An example is a Pet Corrector spray or leash correction if your dog jumps up on a child.
Positive reinforcement is one of the most commonly used training quadrants and includes introducing something positive for your dog after a positive action has been completed. This may be a treat after you have commanded your dog to sit and they have done so.
Correctly applying a variety of all quadrants of balanced dog training and understanding classical conditioning, counter-conditioning, competing motivators, systematic desensitization, triggers & thresholds, and a dog’s body language are imperative for long-lasting results.
Are you Serious About Training Your Dog?
If you're serious about training your dog and shaping them into an obedient and happy pet, then our training programs would be an excellent fit for you. At iTK9, we utilize highly effective balanced dog training methods in our Board & Train programs that are guaranteed to improve behaviour and obedience.
Our Board & Train programs allow iTK9 trainers access to your dog 24/7 and remove them from any reinforcement and environment that may be aiding bad behaviour. Training can occur in multiple environments and alongside other dogs and triggers to allow for better socialization and progress. We do the hard work for you. Contact our team to learn more.