Canine obedience is basically to educate a dog to respond positively to our orders and indications achieving a level of basic education for the dog. Unlike what many believe, canine obedience is not synonymous with canine training, but obedience is only a part of everything that involves training and educating a dog.
Then we explain what are the keys to canine obedience to achieve good communication between owner and dog. We will also share with you tips to relate good obedience to basic or advanced training.
Keep reading this article by ExpertoAnimal and find out why it is so important to devote time and effort to canine obedience. Here we go:
Levels of Canine Obedience
There are different demands for obedience training according to the objective pursued. That is to say, training in canine obedience will be different if you train a service dog (as is the case with guide Dogs), sports competition dogs (for example in agility) or companion dogs without any special function other than to be tremendously loved.
Although there may be dogs more intelligent than others, the truth is that good obedience will never be complete if the person who educates the dog does not have a basic knowledge.
Ancient Obedience: Dominance
Probably, you’ve ever seen a chapter of the dog charmer once. César Millán’s techniques let half the world be impressed, but nowadays it is not. In fact, in Austria it is forbidden to broadcast on the public television of its program. Why is that? The reason is simple, he works with ancient obedience, based on dominance.
In the dominance it is stipulated that we should be a “leader” for our dog and use techniques that remind us of the natural communication of the canids as is the marking. However, this technique arises from a study carried out with wolves of the last century and it is estimated that any disobedient dog wants to be the dominant of the herd formed by us and him.
However, and even though using some of the dogs ‘ own systems is positive, it should be understood that some techniques can generate discomfort in our pet, worsening a behavior problem that may have. Especially if we are not specialists, using dominance is a serious mistake. Moreover, it is an obsolete system that has proved not to be as effective as other techniques.
Recently ethologists professionals who have studied herds of wolves in freedom, have verified, that there are no aggressions between wolves and living in total harmony. They depend on each other to subsist, it has no logic that they continually injure each other. That yes, there is a very important gestural language (more pronounced than in dogs) destined to prevent conflicts.
Why had they seen completely different behaviors before? For simply because so far there has been no technology necessary to study the wolves in freedom, all observations had been carried out on artificial herds kept in captivity. These herds lived in continual stress, giving rise to a high degree of aggression among their members.
Current Obedience: Positive reinforcement
As with human relationships, maintaining a positive and confident attitude helps the recipient understand us and be more inclined to follow our directions. With the dogs it happens the same, for that reason appears the obedience based on the positive reinforcement.
The positive reinforcement is no more secret than rewarding a dog immediately after he has adequately fulfilled an order or behaves as we wish. You should not always use a prize in the form of a snack, they also serve words of encouragement or caress. This type of technique completely rejects the punishment (because it causes stress on the dog) and invites us to use other modes of action that do not cause discomfort in your relationship. Remember that eliminating the punishment of a dog’s education does not mean letting him do what he wants. You must guide your dog and Enseñárle how he should do it.
On the other hand, it will be interesting to note also that non-verbal communication is basic to obedience. We should not use only a “feel” but it will be very useful to relate it also with a gesture. Dogs better understand a specific physical signal.
The use of the clicker is an improved version of positive reinforcement but requires something more constancy and dedication. Basically it consists in “capturing” those behaviors that we like the animal. To correctly use a clicker we must first of all load the sound that emits the object for 3 or 4 days: it is clicked and the animal is rewarded with a candy. Later, in the street or at home, you will be educated following the same procedure: “Feel”-click-Candy.
The clicker can be used on any occasion, including those occurring spontaneously. The dog understands that you liked and associates the “click” with your approval and increases the likelihood that it repeats.
Allowing the animal to be wrong and to amend its behavior by learning for itself is basic. These techniques that we have proposed help make him feel comfortable during his education and training, always complying with animal welfare. They encourage you to learn for yourself, (something that improves your mental stimulation) makes you feel useful, avoids behavioral problems, and refuses to fear or feel excessive pressure.
Behavioral problems or deviation from obedience
By adopting a dog we should be aware that our animal can, at some point in his life, need the supervision of his behavior by a specialist. Going to a canine educator or ethologist if you suffer from behavior problems can help us considerably, especially if we start noticing that our dog does not listen to us.
To review in detail the 5 freedoms of animal welfare can help us understand that we are doing something wrong. It may also happen that we do not properly interpret some of your physical and verbal signals, and something worse, that we do not respond correctly to these signals.
For example, scolding a dog when grunting is totally counterproductive since the animal can start attacking directly without warning. Grunting is a way for dogs to say “leave me alone” or “I don’t like that.”
How and when to work obedience
Practicing basic obedience orders for about 5 or 10 minutes a day will be enough for our dog to start working on it. Abusing education time is counter-productive for the animal.
On the other hand, the ideal will be to work the orders one by one, dedicating between 1 and 10 days to its total comprehension and application. At a time when the dog perfectly understands an order we can move on to another.
It is very positive to devote one day a week to remember all the orders learned.
The ideal is to start working an order in a quiet place and without distractions, progressively must be carried out in more and more traveled places so that the dog can respond to us in an effective way even with constant distractions.
Practicing every day and being consistent in obedience assures us a good result.
Prevent other people reward your dog for free, only be rewarded by responding positively to an order.