Traditional Dog Training Techniques May Not Be the Best

Your new Poodle puppy not taking to training? New research into dog cognition suggests some traditional techniques may not be the best for training. Generally speaking, dogs don’t see the world the way humans do. So we end up frustrating ourselves and our pets by not recognizing this fundamental

Dog cognition experts suggest owners learn to see through the eyes of their dogs in order to facilitate learning and achieve more effective training. For example, University of Western Ontario researcher Krista Macpherson has shown that dogs do not have good spatial memory, which means they are not great at remembering the position or location of objects and places. On the other hand, other research has shown dogs may be able to count which explains how my Australian Shepherd puppy seems to know exactly how many treats I am holding.

Another researcher, Brian Hare, says dogs do not intuitively understand connectivity so they don’t get the idea that a leash ties them to their owner. So when they struggle against the leash or pull on it, they are not being stubborn or trying to exert their will on their owner. They just don’t automatically get the point because it is inherently an alien concept. If the owner becomes angry or frustrated during training, it can create leash aggression issues.

Leash training definitely requires patience and positive reinforcement. Hare suggests starting with rewarding the dog for walking on a loose leash. From there, teach your pet to heel so when you approach a street sign pole or tree the dog won’t try to go around it creating a leash miscue. Understanding the challenges certain training creates for your dog, the better you will be able to help your pet succeed.

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