Some owners categorically declare that their dog is smart by nature, and training will make him a boring, humble and uninitiated dog. And this is fundamentally wrong. The dog inherits only instincts from its ancestors, while it is forced to live in human society, and the responsibility for its behavior lies entirely with the owner. Under social conditions, the importance of control over a dog cannot be overestimated, since this is the key to safety and mutual understanding. An experienced owner constantly notices the body language of his pet, picks up a change in the tone of the bark, traces the direction of attention and gaze. Targeted training allows you to direct the energy of the animal in a useful direction, and the gradual training allows you to master more and more complex tasks. Thus, training is the development in animals of certain skills (habits) necessary to control their behavior and use for human needs.
For successful training, the following rules must be observed.
1. The occurrence of a conditioned reflex is possible only if there are two stimuli: a conditioned (command) and an unconditioned (food, leash jerk).
2. The development of a conditioned reflex should be based on the basis of a strong unconditioned reflex. Only in this case a conditioned reflex is developed quite steadily and in a short time. Therefore, if the conditioned reflex is developed on the basis of the unconditioned food reflex, it is recommended not to feed the dog before work. If the team “Sit!” to give in a loud voice, but not to put pressure on the lower back, but only touch it (that is, have a slight irritation), then a reflex will not form.
3. Conditional and unconditioned stimuli must be correctly combined in time. An unconditioned stimulus is used 1–2 seconds after the conditioned one. For example, they give the command “Near!” and after 1-2 seconds make a leash leash. The reverse order leads to a null result.
4. To develop a conditioned reflex, time and a sufficient number of repetitions of the conditioned and unconditioned stimuli are necessary. At the training stage, teams are recommended to repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times a day. A more frequent repetition will tire the puppy and make the training process boring and uninteresting.
5. Initial training should be carried out in a quiet, peaceful place. Extraneous stimuli (loud sounds, foreign smells, moving objects, strangers and animals) cause the puppy to orientate reflex and distract him. However, when the team has been learned and the conditioned reflex has already been developed, the situation should be gradually complicated so that the dog can work in conditions of any complexity.
6. Teams should be given clearly, once, without unnecessary words and screaming.
7. The strength of the stimuli must match the characteristics of the nervous system of the dog. A working dog should have a strong temperament, be cheerful and healthy. In an animal that has mental problems or physical ailments, conditioned reflexes are poorly developed.
8. The trainer must monitor his emotions. The dog must be treated calmly, without malice and irritation. With excessive psychological pressure and gross physical impact, the learning process is inhibited by the protective reactions of the body.
And one more secret of success. Trainers know that the lesson must be completed at the moment when the dog is at the highest point of success. In other words, at the end of the lesson, make sure that your pet fulfills this or that command “purely”. This is facilitated by the recommended structure of the lesson: first, “new material” is studied, and later the time comes for repetition of well-known exercises. So the dog remembers better what she did right, fixing the desired stereotype of behavior in the future. Finishing the lesson with positive emotions, you keep the dog interested in learning and enjoy the process of training itself. Feeling your support and approval, the dog becomes more confident in its actions. Over time, the desire to earn your praise and disposition becomes the main directing force of the animal’s behavioral reactions.
Dog training is carried out by various methods. The training method is understood as a complex of methods and techniques by which conditioned reflexes are developed in the trained dog. Usually they use mechanical, taste-promoting, contrasting, imitative methods, as well as a method of switching behavioral reactions.
When using the mechanical method, a conditioned stimulus (command) is supported by a mechanical effect – negative (pressure, jerk on a leash, hit with a rod) or positive (stroking, scratching, gentle patting). So, working out the “Sit!” accompanied by a hand pressure in the sacral region of the dog and a light pulling the leash up and back. Keep in mind that harsh negative influences can cause a four-year-old pupil to have a depressed state and even an open fear of a trainer. In addition, even a mechanical action such as physical caress can distract the dog too much.