Written by Christine Durrant, Professional Dog Trainer and Pet Care Consultant
I get it, dog training may not be your favorite hobby or pastime. It can be frustrating and time consuming. Especially when you are using dog training methods that you don't understand or feel good about. If you don't have confidence in your training skills or your dog's ability, they will know. But, I assure you that when you understand how to train your dog properly, everything changes and the time and effort is well worth it. Not to mention, it won't feel like work! The only real requirement is patience - for your dog and yourself.
There are so many benefits to training your dog and it doesn't have to feel like a huge undertaking. Keep in mind, that every time you are with your dog is an opportunity to train them. If you look at it with a positive mindset and, make it fun and rewarding, it will feel much less like a task and more like a time to bond and learn with your dog. It's a partnership and just like any relationship, needs commitment and nurturing.
There are MANY methods people us to train dogs. I choose and (highly recommend) using positive reinforcement dog training for several reasons. Mainly, it is based on how dogs LEARN, not by forcing them to perform like a circus animal. I can teach a dog anything by simply rewarding them for doing what right and either ignoring or removing them if they are being "naughty". Timing is crucial but all things are possible with this method of dog training. I rarely correct a dog's behavior - it's much more powerful to teach them instead of simply demanding they stop doing something. I may interrupt a dog's barking so that I can help them learn it is undesirable but I don't punish them for doing something that is a natural dog behavior.
I would never recommend using an e-collar (shock collar with a new name) because this gives the trainer more power than they deserve. It takes away from the learning process and starts a "I'm the boss and you need to do what I say" mentality. Dogs deserve better than being shocked and I have yet to work with a dog that did not respond to positive reinforcement training so I am rightfully set in my ways. I can't help but think "if you can train a dog without harm, why wouldn't you"?