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Q & A No. 4, Do I really need to be there, too?

Hello again. This week I decided to answer what a lot of new dog owners may be wondering about. “Why do you need me/us to be there during the training?” And the answer to this is going to be a little different for different trainers, depending on the method of training that they use. These can, for the most part, be broken into several categories. There is operant conditioning (positive & negative reinforcement or punishment), mirror conditioning (watch what I do), and dominance/submission training (pack hierarchy).

All of these intertwine a little, like a psychological Venn diagram. You’re probably familiar with the Positive Reinforcement technique, a form of operant conditioning. This is where the owner or trainer, or both, rewards the dog for doing something correctly. Fido sits, he’s told that his sit was good and he gets a reward. Or there’s Negative reinforcement. Fido learns to stay inside the park, the leash is removed and he gets to run free without a leash. Or there’s mirror conditioning. Fido sits and gets a reward, Buddy sees this and sits. Now Buddy gets a reward for sitting. Then there’s dominance/submission training. Fido sees his person (alpha) telling him to sit and he knows that alpha is the leader, so he sits.


All of these techniques have their pros and cons. And all of these techniques can be borrowed from to use with another technique. But to answer the original question, nothing will help train a dog if it isn’t maintained. I can teach Fido to sit and he’ll sit for me. But if you don’t know how I taught him to sit and/or you don’t reinforce this training, Fido won’t bother sitting for you. Fido will always do what benefits his well-being first. What we want is for him to see listening to you as the most beneficial option for him. When you learn how to train Fido, he sees me as another person to listen to. But listening to you first will benefit him more.


I hope that answers the question. If you’d like to know more, please leave me a comment here or on any of my social media (see links at the bottom of the page). Thank you and happy Memorial Day!

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