Suggestions that are highly inaccurate, medicines that are medically dangerous, and training methods that are borderline absurd are often followed to resolve behavioral issues in pet dogs.
Of course, even vaguely house-trained dogs walk by our side, sit when we ask them too and play with us as a team. But what cost do we generally pay for this acceptable behavior?
The chances are that you may have criticized your dog. You might have made him feel stupid for not following your orders. Some pet owners might have even spanked, hit, or beaten their dogs.
It’s highly possible that these pet owners won’t share the same bond with their dogs as before. The chances are that they caused a long lasting-dent in their relationship.
Even if the ultimate motive is achieved by adopting poor dog training techniques, most of us can’t deny the fact that we usually fail to resolve pet behavioral issues in a perfect manner.
Believe it or not, it’s proven that punishment-based training leads to reduced eye contact between the pet owners and their dogs, which translates to lesser closeness.
This explains the importance of avoiding misleading and false claims/methods that are not supported by science. Ideally, dog trainers should know what research says and not what people say.
Truthfully speaking, evidence from various studies suggest that science-based training can help a dog connect and communicate with humans better than usual.
Not to discount the fact that scientific dog training offers much more training benefits than traditional training except the breach in trust. Therefore, there has been a drastic increase in the acceptance of science-based dog training techniques and principles in the recent years.
So, what is Science based Dog Training?
If you have read stuff on dog training before, you must have come across the term ‘positive reinforcement’ training. The name ‘positive reinforcement’ explains itself, where rewards (toys, treats, praise) are used to repeat a desirable action.
Science-based dog training works along the same lines. It involves effective and enjoyable training methods as opposed to intimidation or punishment. So, it’s pretty similar to positive reinforcement training.
To explain this further, science-based dog training makes use of numerous principles and methods that are scientifically proven to work.
It’s a training method that’s based on the study of dogs —the dog’s behavior and their ability to be conditioned with the use of rewards and punishment. Basically, it’s evidence-based training.
Folks who back science-based dog training methods criticize training techniques that suggest trainers to use harsh methods to correct a behavior. Not to mention that science-based trainers keep learning new things to stay on top of the latest world of evidence and behavioral science.
As already known, animal behaviorists keep working on new studies and experiments to understand the dog’s psychology, which science-based trainers usually rely on to work with their dogs.
So, staying updated is a must as science-based dog trainers can’t afford to rely on non-scientific observations. A statement like this won’t do the trick, ‘This worked for my dog. Therefore, I will try this on my neighbor’s dog too.’
Just because your dog has responded in a certain way doesn’t mean that all dogs will respond in a similar fashion. As described earlier, science-based dog training doesn’t work this way.
Unlike conventional wisdom, science-based dog training works on methods and principles that have been tested and re-tested using scientific methods. So, it’s not seen as a hit or a miss dog training technique.
That said, science-based dog training is such a broad concept that it’s difficult to pinpoint a methodology behind it. After all, it involves the use of many different training techniques.
For the most part, it relies on operant conditioning. This means that science-based training relies more on positive reinforcements and very less on punishment.
Think about this for a moment. There was a time when we were told that dogs do not have the same emotions as humans, which was proven to be wrong.
Dogs work for themselves, just like humans do. Therefore, positive-reinforcement training works wonders. Yes, it’s easier to teach acceptable behavior by rewarding your pet.
A recent Portugal study proves this point. Dozens of dogs were evaluated to find the behavioral changes in them from the use of both positive and negative training techniques.
Negative training techniques involved the use of leash corrections, shock collars, harsh scolding, and things along the same lines. A group of dogs were trained entirely with positive reinforcements too. Believe it or not, these dogs performed much better than dogs that were trained with harsh training techniques.
The dogs treated with positive reinforcement not only fared better with respect to the behavior expected out of them, but they also ended up with less stress than their counterparts.
This proves that positive reinforcement training techniques deliver better results without causing elevated stress, pain, or anxiety.
Several other studies have also cited that dogs that are trained with aggressive methods continue to remain aggressive for long. Therefore, science-based dog training doesn’t support this type of practice.
Benefits of Science-Based Dog Training
-Science-based dog training techniques are more effective as it’s backed by science.
-It’s not harmful for the pet’s overall physical and mental well-being.
-It doesn’t result in the dog being aggressive, leading to fewer chances of dog bites.
-It helps build observation skills and patience in both pet owners and their pets.
-It mostly ensures long-lasting results with little investment of time and effort.
-Science-based methods don’t end when the training gets over. It involves constant molding of the dog’s behavior.
-It increases the bond between the dog and the pet owner. You and your pet will live comfortably forever.
The science-based dog training technique is possibly the best training technique available to us today. After all, it encourages science-based trainers to train pets in the most humane way possible.
Of course, science-based dog training methods keep changing based on new studies and findings. Therefore, pet owners should be willing to adapt to new learnings every now and then.
Also, it’s important to bear in mind that what worked for one dog may not always work with the next dog. So, you will have to test which scientific training method works best for your pet.