Proactive Dog Training Benefits – What are They?
Dogs, like people, often learn by doing. In fact, puppies and older dogs are constantly learning how to react in different situations that’s why proactive dog training is so important. Dogs learn by two different methods, including operant conditioning and classical conditioning.
Operant Conditioning Basics
Operant conditioning creates learning by the consequences of specific actions. For example, if a puppy or a dog comes when called and gets a reward such as praise and a treat, they associate the action of coming with a positive reward and are likely to continue that behavior. The more they receive the reward, the more they continue the behavior until it becomes a natural response.
Likewise, they can also learn bad behaviors through operant conditioning. If a puppy wants attention and jumps up on a person and is rewarded by being petted, he or she begins to be conditioned to jump up to receive attention.
In classical conditioning, dogs learn to detect specific changes in an environment that signal something positive or negative. Think about how your dog gets excited when you say “walk” or “car” and immediately runs to the door.
Dogs can also learn signals or tip-offs that something they don’t like is about to happen. They may run away at the dog park when they see your behavior signals it is time to leave. They may also associate going in the car with going to the vet, and they may be very difficult to convince that the car is also a positive activity to go to the park or to visit.
The Challenge of Unlearning and Relearning
Unfortunately, trying to erase things learned through either operant or classical conditioning is difficult. It is similar to trying to break a habit for a person, and it takes time, consistency, and a lot of patience.
It is also difficult for most people to understand how to positively retrain a dog. After all, it is only the negative or problematic behaviors that need to be improved, which typically means the humans in the family need to change what they are doing to create a positive environment to allow the dog to change its behavior.
A simple way to address this significant problem is proactive dog training. Obedience classes for puppies, juvenile, and adult dogs provide the opportunity to learn effective training methods to ensure your dog learns the positive behaviors that make them great pets, companions, and friends.
DogiZone offers a free evaluation for all new dogs to our training programs. This is a great way to see where your dog needs proactive training or where some relearning will be effective in overcoming any bad habits. Our professional trainers, under the leadership of nationally recognized certified dog trainer Andrew Fraser, offer both one-on-one and group training that teaches positive behaviors while also correcting any behaviors you want to chance. To learn more, book a free training evaluation online or call us at 240-793-5787.