Dog Training Explained:
At Tip Top K9 we desire that our clients can take their trained dogs with them anywhere and everywhere they go! We want our clients to be able to trust their dog because of its training and know that their dog will mind them no matter what the distraction is!! We take our dogs to the lake, to the park, to friends and family member’s houses and we want to be able to help you do the same!!
Obedience, off-leash obedience, and manners are our main focus.
All of our dog trainers are dog lovers first and foremost. We train dogs because we love them! We are not militant Nazis but in our dog training classes we do provide structure and boundaries and show you how to teach your dog to listen.
Through our unique method of dog training we will strive to teach your dog to listen every single time mommy and daddy speaks! We won’t make your dog a robot, but will teach them that they have to respect you and do what you ask of them.
Reward or Punishment ??
All types of dog training can work. Dogs are smart! People have been training dogs for a long, long time to do different things. But just like everything else in the world, there are good and bad methods, fast and slow methods, efficient and not efficient methods. Most dog trainers are teaching some sort of either positive or negative reinforcement (i.e. either do good and get rewarded or do bad and get punished). In this section we will go over problems with purely positive dog training or purely punishment based dog training or negative reinforcement and then finally go over our Tip Top Method of training and why we get better results than other obedience trainers.
Reward Based Issues
1. Rewards Lose Value – If the dog is paid for good behavior and it stops getting paid (treats) then the good behavior normally stops as well. (If your boss stopped paying you then your enthusiasm for work would pry go down and you would probably stop working…) If a higher reward than your treat comes by (rabbit, squirrel, neighbor dog) your dog will always go for whatever is the highest reward for its dog brain. (Your dog will always take a $10 over a $5 bill.)
2. Timing is Crucial – Typical positive reinforcement only trainers will limit dog training clients to only one dog and one dog handler per class because they must intensively train the owner handling the dog. When it comes to reward based training if you tell your dog sit and then pause 5 seconds and then reward the dog then you actually just rewarded your dog for staying, not sitting…. Or if you said “Come” and your dog comes and then you fumbled with your treats and the dog sits and you then pay with food you just rewarded your dog for sitting, not the actual come on command. Most food rewards need to be delivered to the dog in under 2 seconds of the dog performing the behavior.
3. Dog Responds Differently For Different People – Your dog is not a socialist… so depending on how different family members pay the dog with food depends on how well your dog responds to you or to them. If mom pays excellent (lots of treats) and dad pays stingy (very few treats) then the dog listens to mom and doesn’t as much to dad because one owner is a better paying boss than the other. (Dad pays $5 an hour but Mom pays $50 an hour.)
4. Some Dogs Require Skipping Meals to Care – Some dogs are not very food motivated and you have to really limit their food to get them to listen for food. (Most people don’t know this but the dolphins at Sea World only jump and do tricks because if they don’t jump they don’t eat!) If the dogs aren’t interested in treats or food then what happens is treat trainers will recommend “fasting” the dog for a day or two. So basically if the dog won’t train well with food you have to make it really hungry and starve it so that it will work for food…. This is not very positive!!
5. Seldom Works With Heavy Distraction – While treat training can work good indoors it seldom works outdoors in heavy distraction. (In the dolphin training scenario they are only trained and do tricks in tanks of water, NEVER out in the open sea where they have choices!)
Punishment based Issues
1. You Must Have a Harsh / Strong Personality – The effectiveness of punishment based dog training depends on the dog owner’s individual personality or physical strength. Some styles (such as prong or pinch collar training) can work for people that have no problem being harsh but don’t work for gentler dog handlers such as elderly people or children.
If you have an 85 lb Doberman and you are using a prong/pinch collar then the mom or dad of the family may be able to physically make the dog do commands. This may work but a 12 year old girl will not be able to muscle the dog around or generate the same fear/respect as the parents would.
2. Can Ruin The Dog’s Attitude – If a dog trainer is really harshly correcting the dog (such as using a pinch collar and giving a big leash jerk) then it can really dampen the dogs attitude and make them not like training or not like the dog trainer. When using negative reinforcement (like a pinch collar) if the dog doesn’t listen or is distracted they get harder and harder chokes on the collar and more pressure on their neck and throat until they listen! OUCH!
3. Can Make Aggressive Dogs More Aggressive – If you have an aggressive Pitbull and every time he lunges for a dog you give him a big jerk on a pinch collar a lot of really aggressive dogs will see that “correction” coming from you (since you are at the other end of the leash!) and will come up that leash and REDIRECT their aggression to you! This is very common with aggressive dogs and pinch collars.
4. Can Injure Dogs – Pinch, prong, and choke collars kill dogs every year from blunt force trauma to the throat! It is very hard to transfer from a prong or pinch collar (both of which require a leash) to off leash obedience training because the dog sees the correction or negative coming directly from the leash and from the owner. If you get rid of the leash then the dog directly sees that the owner or person no longer has control over them.
5. Seldom Works for Small Dogs – Dogs that are 5-15 lbs. in size such at Yorkies, Maltese, Poodles, etc cannot handle punishment. Many having a “Princess Complex” would freak out if put on a prong collar or corrected with a punishment.
Obviously training dogs with punishment based dog training or negative reinforcement can work and lots of people do it (although normally it is seen more with the guardian type breeds Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds) but these are the disadvantages.
Some people don’t get good results with traditional training methods (such as the methods above) when teaching their dog to stop jumping or not run away and so turn to shock collars. But shock collars are not good either! What is a shock collar? A shock collar is basically an electric fence around a dog’s neck with a remote with a button that sends a lightning bolt to the dog! OUCH!! The training collar in the picture adjacent is one of the bad collars that you will find at most local pet stores with remotes that go 1-8 (1 being low and 8 being super ouch!) and normally have a low and high button.
These bad shock collars are not very variable (say that 10x fast!) and are a punishment based training collar adapted from an underground fence collar and then the company puts a remote to the underground fence collar. If you have ever felt an underground fence collar it is strong!! This is not the type of training collar to use to teach obedience training with.
If you are at your wits end with your dog’s behaviors and you have bought a shock collar then put it in the drawer RIGHT NOW and call us today to schedule a $1.00 first lesson!
Problems With High Powered Shock Collars:
The most normal and most unfair way to train a dog is:
1. Give a command.
2. Give a warning beep.
3. Shock the dog.
Training like this will ruin a dog’s attitude very quickly.
If the dog doesn’t understand what your asking and gets shocked he is going to have a bad attitude. If you had to ask the dog twice then he obviously doesn’t clearly understand what you want even if you think he does… If you train like this you are training incorrectly and will ruin your dog’s attitude.
Most shock collars are too hot or too powerful to do anything but be used as a pure punishment. Think of sticking your finger in a light socket! Original shock collars were made to stop dogs from chasing horses and to stop hunting dogs from running too far away or to not flush birds until told.
While this may be understandable 50 years ago today there is no reason to blast a little Yorkie with super hot shock to get them to listen. Most of the collars on Amazon today that are under $50.00 or some that are $200 are adapted from the old school shock collars and are using a very hot shock as the means of stim.
In the picture of the Sport Dog collar above the levels go 1-8. When the remote only goes from 1-8 the difference in the stimulation between 1 and 2 is normally a 15-20% increase. That means that if your dog can just barely feel it and then you need to turn it up then you may over stimulate your dog.
With a collar like this you cannot just make a small incremental change but if you need more attention from your dog you have to go up 20% higher. The bottom line with these type collars is if you work your dog too high on the collar you will ruin the dog’s attitude.
They Can Work
This is a problem because most people have seen it work and try to duplicate what they saw a trainer on YouTube do but they do not understand what they are doing or how their dog is perceiving it.
Most people have known of or heard of a hunting dog that does amazing on a shock collar and listens perfectly AND the dog gets really excited when the shock collar comes out. But the reason the dog does good on a shock collar is two fold: 1. The dog clearly understand why and when the shock comes. 2. The dog equates training to doing fun stuff such as hunting and playing with his trainer. 3. The dog is a stronger bred hunting dog that can take a shock and still have a good attitude.
The difference between this hunting dog and the un-learned pet owner trying what they saw on YouTube is that the pet owner’s dog doesn’t understand the collar at all and is most likely way more sensitive than the hunting dog and needs a much milder training collar.
Made For Punishment
Like mentioned above most shock collars that have been adapted from underground fence collars are made for punishment based training. Punishment = Dog doesn’t behave and something bad happens. There are training collars on the market that are variable and lower muscle stim type collars but the majority are the shock type which can only be used as a negative reinforcer.
Punishment based training may work but can ruin dogs attitudes and normally wont be used by everyone in the family. Punishment can work for a tough trainer and a tough mom or tough dad but rarely will it work for 11 or 12 year old girls or elderly women with their precious little poodle. Punishment based training is not the best for obedience training.
How do we train at Tip Top K9?
We Teach an Attention Based System
Attention is not using fear or respect to train with, but teaching the dog using a conditioned response. We teach dogs to pay attention with our unique Tip Top Method of dog training that uses the leash and a training collar and verbal commands. We seek to generate a conditioned response in response to classical conditioning principles. We pair desired behaviors to verbal cues so every time you the dog owner speaks your dog learns he to pay attention.
In our method we do not use operant conditioning that rewards dogs for listening and we do not punish them for not listening. Instead we teach them exactly what is expected of them and teach them that they are required to do it each and every time and then pair it with a verbal command that we then transfer to our clients! Your first lesson with us is only $1.00!! So call us today and let us show you our system of dog training that has made us the top ranked dog trainer across the U.S.
Want to check out our method of dog training?
1st – Call our office and let us know what your goals / issues are.
We are here to help!
2nd – Schedule a time for one of our dog trainers to come out for your $1.00 first lesson.
This way you can see our method work on your dog first hand!
3rd – If you sign up you get life time support!
With Tip Top you get life time phone support AND life time weekly group classes to help reinforce your pup’s training!