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Our Dog Training Methods

Here at School of Dogs we only use positive dog training which is an approach to training dogs that emphasises rewarding desirable behaviours rather than punishing unwanted ones. It focuses on using positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and toys to motivate and encourage dogs to behave in desired ways. This approach builds a strong bond between the dog and the owner and promotes learning through cooperation and encouragement rather than fear or coercion.

 

We use this method specifically when training puppies as positive reinforcement involves rewarding desired behaviours with treats, praise, or other rewards to increase the likelihood of those behaviours recurring. We use ‘shaping’ this involves breaking down complex behaviours into smaller, manageable steps and reinforcing each step until the desired behaviour is achieved. In our classes we use desensitisation methods to help the puppy build puppies confidence if they are showing signs of fear or anxiety over specific stimuli by gently exposing the dog to stimuli, e.g sounds, people, dogs, this also helps to build confidence and teaches the owners about how their puppy is feeling in a complex human world. 

 

We also specialise in science-based methods with all dogs this involves using techniques and principles grounded in behavioural science and learning theory. These methods rely on understanding how dogs learn, including concepts like operant conditioning and classical conditioning. Positive reinforcement, shaping, and desensitisation are some of the key tools used in science-based dog training.  

 

Science-based dog training prioritises humane and effective methods that are supported by empirical evidence and avoids the use of punishment or aversive techniques. This approach aims to build a strong and trusting relationship between the dog and the owner while promoting the dog's well-being and overall happiness.

 

We also have a unique skill in teaching owners how to understand and read their dogs emotional well being, when they show signs of stress or fear.  We teach owners to read their dogs communication skills, how they interact with other dogs and people as canine communication plays an integral part of a dog social development.

 

At School of Dogs we do not use dominance dog training, such as physical punishments, fear, corrections, aversive equipment, verbal reprimands, physical corrections, dominance, alpha hierarchy.

We promote positive dog training because:

 

1. **Effective Learning**: Positive reinforcement techniques have been shown to be highly effective in teaching dogs new behaviours and modifying existing ones. Dogs learn better and retain information longer when they are motivated by rewards rather than fear or punishment.

 

2. **Building Trust and Bond**: Positive training methods help build a strong bond and trust between the dog and the trainer. Dogs are more likely to enjoy training sessions and willingly participate when they associate training with positive experiences.

 

3. **Promoting Emotional Well-being**: Punishing methods can lead to stress, anxiety, and fear in dogs, which can negatively impact their emotional well-being. Positive training methods prioritise the dog's emotional state and promote a positive and enjoyable learning environment.

 

4. **Reducing Risk of Aggression**: Punishing methods can increase the risk of aggressive behaviour in dogs, as they may become defensive or fearful in response to punishment. Positive training methods help prevent the development of aggression by focusing on reinforcing desirable behaviours and teaching alternative behaviours.

 

5. **Ethical Considerations**: Positive training aligns with ethical considerations of treating animals humanely and with respect. Punishing methods, such as physical corrections or harsh verbal reprimands, can cause unnecessary harm and discomfort to dogs.

 

Overall, positive dog training techniques are not only more effective but also promote a healthy and positive relationship between dogs and their owners/trainers, while prioritising the emotional well-being and welfare of the dogs.

 

Another method we do not use is ‘balanced dog training’ because:

 

1. **Balanced Dog Training**: Balanced dog training incorporates both positive reinforcement techniques and aversive methods such as corrections or punishments. While positive reinforcement is used to encourage desired behaviours, aversive methods may be employed to discourage unwanted behaviours. These aversive methods can include leash corrections, verbal reprimands, or even physical corrections like collar jerks. The philosophy behind balanced training is to use a variety of techniques to address a dog's behaviour, with the belief that some situations may require a correction to effectively communicate with the dog.

 

2. **Positive Dog Training**: Positive dog training, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on using positive reinforcement techniques to teach and modify a dog's behaviour. This approach emphasises rewarding desired behaviours with treats, praise, or toys, while ignoring or redirecting unwanted behaviours rather than punishing them. Positive training methods are grounded in behavioural science and prioritise creating a positive and enjoyable learning environment for the dog, with the goal of building a strong bond based on trust and cooperation.

 

The top benefits for training your dog with School of Dogs is that we only use positive reinforcement in dog training that includes:

 

1. **Effective Learning**: Positive reinforcement has been shown to be highly effective in teaching dogs new behaviours and modifying existing ones. Dogs learn better and retain information longer when they are motivated by rewards rather than fear or punishment.

 

2. **Building Trust and Bond**: Positive reinforcement techniques help build a strong bond and trust between the dog and the trainer. Dogs are more likely to enjoy training sessions and willingly participate when they associate training with positive experiences.

 

3. **Promoting Good Behaviour**: Positive reinforcement focuses on rewarding desirable behaviours, which encourages dogs to repeat those behaviours in the future. By consistently rewarding good behaviour, positive reinforcement helps reinforce positive habits and manners in dogs.

 

4. **Reducing Fear and Anxiety**: Positive reinforcement methods help create a positive and enjoyable learning environment for dogs, reducing stress, fear, and anxiety during training sessions. Dogs are more likely to feel comfortable and confident when they are rewarded for their efforts.

 

5. **Preventing Aggression**: Positive reinforcement techniques help prevent the development of aggressive behaviour in dogs by focusing on reinforcing desirable behaviours and teaching alternative behaviours. Dogs are less likely to become defensive or reactive when they are trained using positive methods.

 

6. **Enhancing Communication**: Positive reinforcement provides clear and consistent communication between the dog and the owner. By rewarding desired behaviours, owners can effectively communicate to dogs what behaviours are desirable and reinforce the desired response.

Overall, science based positive reinforcement techniques in dog training not only effectively teach dogs new behaviours but also promote a positive and trusting relationship between dogs and their owners/trainers, while prioritising the emotional well-being and welfare of the dogs. We teach our clients everything they need to know about training their dog, this is why we have successfully trained over 5000 dogs and help them all to live happy lives. 

 

Lee Ferry, BA (Hons), FdSc

School of Dogs Ltd ®

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Lee Ferry, BA (Hons), FdSc
Principle Dog Trainer 
Founder of 
School of Dogs Ltd ®

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