In Dog Training, the debate of Old School Training vs. Positive Reward Training has been going on for some time now. While both methods are effective – dogs are after all, eager for attention, food and shelter – many (including myself) believe the way a dog feels both during dog training and at home is extremely important. Let’s explore for a moment what the difference between these two types of training is – and how they affect your dog.
Old School Dog Training
In old school dog training, trainers use a dominant approach. Offering less patience and expecting almost immediate results, old school trainers typically may offer some praise, but generally use more redirecting or corrective methods (choke chains, other punitive measures, that may cause pain and/or distress) without offering any rewards.
Focusing mostly on what a dog is doing wrong rather than what he/she is doing right, these dog trainers tend to believe that many behaviours displayed by dogs are due to them wanting to dominate you and/or be the ‘pack leader’.
This ‘pack leader’ analogy is frequently used by old school dog trainers to describe owner/dog relationships. In wolf or wild dog societies, the pack leader is usually the one who sits (much of the time) on his own. When walking around, he has got to ‘act his part’ and ‘play the tough guy’. Keeping their tails firmly tucked under and their ears back, other pack members will lick his face, act submissively and generally show him that they are no threat to him and have no intention to challenge his mating tights. Mating is, after all, the main role of the pack leader – which, to me, does not sound much like a human/dog relationship.
Positive Reward Dog Training
In positive reward dog training, dog trainers focus on what a dog is doing right. Using patience, motivation and redirection techniques involving praise, food, toys and clickers, positive reward training does not put everything a dog does down to an attempt to dominate or be pack leader/follower but understands that many of a dog’s behaviours are due to breed traits, early education and socialisation.
Understanding that a dog does not have to be submissive in order to listen and that dogs like to work – and succeed – as a team, positive reward dog trainers want dogs to be confident, rather than submissive.
Rather than punishing a wrong action or behaviour, the ‘right’ actions and good behaviour are rewarded with treats, praise and/or ‘play time’ with a favourite toy.
Patience, practice and good, proper dog training can help a dog learn the appropriate behaviour for any situation it is ‘thrown’ into, as well as helping to build good communication skills between owners and their dogs.
Old School Training Vs. Positive Reward Training
Old school dog training focuses on ensuring your dog sees you as the ‘pack leader’ and submissively does as he/she is told (if for no other reason than for fear of the potential ‘punishment’ if he/she fails to obey a command).
Positive reward dog training, on the other hand, encourages a positive relationship and improves communication between you and your dog while allowing your dog to work as a team with you in a confident and altogether happier fashion.
In a nutshell, old school dog training vs. positive reward dog training is the difference between ‘being a pack leader’ with a submissive, potentially fearful and stressed dog and being a teacher who educates his/her dog with patience, praise and rewards to become a confident, happy and well-behaved family member.
Using positive reinforcement (positive reward dog training), we provide personalised dog training sessions designed to meet your dog’s specific needs/breed needs. Sessions include:
- Puppy Training
- House Training
- Safety around Children Training
- Scent/Nose Work Training
- Gun Dog Training
- Advanced Obedience Training
- Obedience dog training will include teaching your dog to:
- Sit/lie down upon command.
- Come when called.
- Sit-stay on command
- Not misbehave/pull on the lead.
Using the language used by dogs to communicate, we will also teach you/your dog calming signals and educate you to read your dog’s signals and correctly interpret whatever your dog is attempting to tell you. In addition, we will show you how to avoid conflicts with other dogs while walking your dog.