2 Types of Dog Training

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By Puppy Petite

Dogs are some of the most loving animals in the world, but they also require a not-insignificant amount of care. As behavioral creatures, they learn by being properly trained and rewarded for good behavior. When you are trick training your pet, you have the option of choosing between two different types of training methods. These two methods are known as:

  • Leading
  • Clicker Training

For the beginner dog owner that has never had to train a dog or puppy before (as well as those that did not train often in the past), choosing between these two options can be difficult. Both have their benefits and weaknesses, though experts agree that one of these two types is considerably more effective for long term training.

Introduction to Leading

“Leading” is a method of dog training that involves placing a treat in front of your dog and having your pet follow your hand in order to perform the trick. To turn in a circle, for example, the dog will have the treat in front of their nose, and follow your hand in a circle until they have completed the trick, and then they get the treat.

Benefits of Leading

Leading is a very simple technique, and one that requires very little patience. Everyone knows how to lead a dog with a treat, and once the dog gets used to following your hand, it will be able to do so easily. Also, leading can be an effective training method if you can slowly reduce the amount of motion you perform with your hand each time.

Weaknesses of Leading

Because leading involves your dog following a treat, they are not always learning the trick. Instead, they are simply following your hand. Take the treat away and the trick can easily be forgotten. In addition, when you train with leading it requires that you move your hand throughout the entire trick, making it a little less impressive and involving quite a lot of work on your end. Dogs that learn through leading are rarely as good at following verbal commands because they pay more attention to your hand than the words.

Introduction to Clicker Training

Clicker training is the type of dog training that most professional trainers use. It involves the principles of operant and classical conditioning, which is ideal for the way dogs learn. It also the best way to train tricks without your involvement in each move.

Benefits of Clicker Training

Using the clicker, you can train your dog in behaviors and actions automatically, rewarding the exact moment a behavior occurs. You can also train quickly, from any distance. It is easier to get your dog to understand the command rather than watching for a gesture and it has the highest retention rate. You also have the opportunity to train with tricks that are not possible with leading.

Weaknesses of Clicker Training

The only weakness of clicker training is that it requires a great deal of patience. Learning is meant to be incremental and done in parts. For example, if you are trying o get your dog to turn in a circle on command, you must click when they move their head, then click when they move their head a little more, then click when they start to move their body and so on. Learning is slow and steady and you do not see results right away.

Clicker Training is Most Effective

Ideally, you want to teach your dog tricks using clicker training. It is the most effective, it allows you the most leeway in terms of what tricks you decide to teach, and it is more likely to create long lasting tricks for your pet. Leading is still useful for some of the simpler tricks, or those that you would like to try to teach in a hurry, but clicker training is still the most effective dog training method.

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