It can be confusing trying to decide which dog training approach is best for you and your pet gundog. Do you go with the harsh punishment-based system of olden times or the positive reinforcement-only method? The options are both extreme, and it can be tough to decide which is right for you, if either. In this double-episode podcast and blog post, we’ll discuss the two different approaches in more detail, and discuss the reality of a far more sensible middle ground so that you can make an informed decision about what’s best for your dog!
Episode Part 1
Episode Part 2
Traditional Training Methods
Gundog training methods have been handed down through generations of dog trainers. These methods are based on the principle of establishing communication between the handler and the dog and using this communication to command the dog. In recent years, however, there has been a growing movement away from traditional methods of training gun dogs. Some of the methods can be harsh, and cruel, using fear to train the dog.
Positive-Only Dog Training
Positive-only dog training is a type of dog training that focuses solely on reinforcing desired behaviours. This means that instead of using punishment or any type of correction, positive reinforcement is used to teach dogs the behaviours that we want them to learn. Some of the most common forms of positive reinforcement include treats, praise, and petting.
Although it may take a little longer to see results with positive-only dog training, it is seen as a much more humane and effective way to train your dog. However, the length it can take for a dog to understand what is being asked can lead to frustration for both dog and owner.
The Middle Ground
So, what’s the middle ground? Well, it’s a training approach that takes the best from both traditional and positive-only dog training methods. This means that you can use both positive reinforcement and constructive corrections to train your dog.
However, the focus should always be on reinforcing desired behaviours rather than ever punishing undesired behaviours. Punishment is never used, instead constructive correction where you help the dog to learn replaces it.
This type of training is often seen as the most effective way to train a gun dog, as it takes into account the strengths and weaknesses of both traditional and positive-only approaches.
Work With The Dog In Front Of You
When it comes to dog training, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The best way to train your dog will depend on a number of factors, including your dog’s personality, age, and the behaviours you want to reinforce. We constantly teach our students to ‘work with the dog in front of them and to use different styles and methods of training to support the dog learning. The importance of finding a sensible middle ground when training your gun dog can’t be overstated.
Individual Learning Plan
Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they learn best when they are challenged in a way that suits their specific needs. That’s why it’s important to create an individual learning program when training your dog.
By taking into account your dog’s unique personality, abilities, and interests, you can tailor the learning process to their individual needs. As a result, they will be more engaged in the process and more likely to retain the information.
In addition, by providing a stimulating and personalised learning experience, you can help your dog reach their full potential. So if you’re looking to get the most out of your furry friend, remember to create an individual learning program that is tailored specifically for them.
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