With all of the varying advice on training your dog, it can become overwhelming to pick the kind that is right for your dog trainee. However, you don’t have to fret. All dog training is based on one basic principle: staying consistent. Consistency is the key to dog training.
Classical Conditioning Tells All
You’ve most likely heard of classical conditioning in relation to dog training. Classical conditioning is the process by which the dog will associate certain stimuli with a certain outcome. How does this happen? It takes time and consistency.
Some examples of this basic form of learning include:
- Sound aversion dog training
- Doorbells signaling company
- Clicker training
- Socializing dogs with children, rewarding with treats
Truly, all forms of training for your furry friend will incorporate some type of classical conditioning. The dog learns over time that a particular signal will garner a particular result. Whether this signal comes from the owner, external noises, or the dog’s own behavior, the dog will eventually learn this cause and effect relationship and act accordingly.
Inconsistency Causes Confusion
If you lack consistency in dog training, the puppy will naturally be confused and act out. This may seem like defiance to you, but it’s actually a misunderstanding of the intent. You can train over and over again, but if there are inconsistencies in how you reward or mark a behavior, the dog will also act erratically.
The best way to avoid this is to establish a clear criterion. This sets ground rules for you and your loveable canine, and the rules should not be broken at any point.
An example is marking a dog laying down with the “down” command. If you say “down” when your pup is fully laying down but also when their haunches are still up, this leaves much room for error.
The dog will start to test what can be seen as “down” and seem unruly on the outside. This can all be fixed with, yes, you guessed it, consistency.
Mutual Understanding Equals a Happy Dog
Dogs are domesticated animals that are fiercely loyal to their human companion. The term “man’s best friend” was coined for good reason. If at all possible, your pooch wants to please you. If they are not doing so, the rules are simply not clear and consistent.
If the dog’s beloved owner becomes angry or frustrated with a dog for simply not knowing what is expected of them, this can cause negative feelings for both parties.
The best dog training is consistent training. Regardless of whether you choose positive-only, negative-only, or balanced training methods, you have to remain extremely rigid in your practices. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with Fido. However, you have to do the groundwork in order to reach a fun place.
Rest is just as important for your canine companion as training and exercise. True relaxation can only be achieved for your pup when they understand what is being communicated to them. Similar to how you want to know what to expect in your day-to-day routine, your dog thinks the same way.
Final Thoughts on Why Consistency is the Key to Dog Training
Always remember that your dog doesn’t speak the same language as you, but you can still communicate through consistent actions and behavior. Then, you’ll have the harmony that humans and dogs are meant to create.