There are two theories used in training
Dominance Theory and Learning Theory
‘Dominance theory’ is based on the use of force and correction, and ‘Learning Theory’ is based on positive reinforcement.
Dominance Theory states that the dog ‘misbehaves’ because they are striving for a higher rank (like wolves in the wild). Humans need to show them “who’s the boss by using intimidation, force and correction. Their relationship is developed through dominant and submissive roles. There is no scientific proof that domesticated animals strive for dominance in a hierarchical pack setting.
Today, most veterinarians, animal behaviorists and animal organizations believe this type of training is outdated, dangerous, and inhumane. This type of training will permanently damage the relationship between the owner and the animal.
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Punishment Position Statement
Learning Theory does not assume the dog strives for dominance. The theory states that animal behavior is triggered by the environment in response to an anticipated outcome. opportunity and practice, the animal learns specific behaviors while being driven by motivation, reinforcement (either negatively or positively), and conditioning.
Why I use Positive reinforcement method?
English is my second language, and my husband helped me a lot with his patient, kindness, and creativity for me to learn it in fun way. He told me to watch the news channels as much as I could when I first moved to the United States. Why?
Because they speak clearer, don’t involve with slung, and although at the first it was too fast to catch what they were saying, it actually got easier to listen as I get to use to their speed. I asked every time when I didn’t understand the words, and my husband answered me repeatedly no matter how many times I asked the same question. I tried to use it once I remember the word and meaning, and my husband would tell me ‘nice try, but that’s not exactly how you use it’, or ‘Yes, you used it perfectly’. Because of his clear feedback, and his effort to make it like a game (fun thing for both of us to enjoy), and praise or hug (reward), I was thrived and motivated to learn the new words.
From my experience, this is how dogs Learn
Since we don’t speak ‘dog language’, they need to learn to communicate with us in order to live in harmony. So what they do is try to understand what we are saying (watching news channels), then they’d ask you ‘Is this what you want mean?’ (Asking my husband a questions) You are giving him/her clear feedback (‘Yes, that’s exactly what it is!’, or ‘oops, try it again’) Yes, they are making EFFORT to learn a new language, just like you will learn foreign language, and it is NOT easy thing to do.
So every time when they understand what we want them to do, I want to tell them ‘Thank you for understanding my language, please keep up with your new skill!’ And I want to make sure that they know I acknowledge their effort, and they EARNED the reward. (Treat, toy, play, petting, praise) Since they are making effort to communicate with us, I want them to have the learning experience as fun as possible to keep their motivation.
Now Think about if you are learning a new foreign language.
Would you like to have a teacher who let you think, try out and make mistakes, but guide and encourage you to be better at the new language, or would you prefer a teacher who won’t give you a chance to think, order you what to do, and they’ll pinch your cheek with a scary face and tell you ‘You are wrong!’ when you make mistake? Do you feel motivate by the scary teacher? Personally, I would want to run away from him/her.
So this is why I love and use positive reinforcement method. There are no force, no need to obey the master because there is no master, nothing to be afraid of, (even making a mistake is OK because they haven’t learn it fluently yet!), no punishment and no pain involved. I’m a living proof that positive reinforcement method works!