Traditional Dog Training

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Traditional Dog Training

by Rodrigo Trigosso

This technique was initially developed to train war dogs. It was very useful during World War I. This training technique was embraced by civilian trainers after World War II, and quickly became the standard way to train dogs.

It seems that Colonel Konrad Most was the founder of this technique and, therefore, he is acknowledged as the father of modern dog training.

However, the main supporter of the technique was William R. Koehler. His book "The Koehler Method of Dog Training" could be the all-time best selling publication in the field.

Modern scientific principles of learning were not used to develop traditional training, so it is an empirical technique. Nevertheless, it seems that Konrad Most already understood the principles of operant conditioning on 1910, several years before those principles were published. So, this technique can be explained by operant conditioning principles.

Negative reinforcement and punishment are the main teaching ways of traditional training.

Negative reinforcement is the process that strengthens a behavior because an unpleasant situation is stopped or avoided as a consequence of that particular behavior. For instance, pushing on your dog's shoulders will provoke an unpleasant situation for him. If the pressure over his shoulders disappears when he lies down, he will be more likely to do the same in the future, just to avoid that unpleasant sensation. Thus, your dog will be learning to lie down through negative reinforcement.

Punishment, on the other hand, is an unpleasant consequence of a particular behavior. Although punishment could weaken a behavior, it is not a guarantee that this will happen. Besides, punishments usually have undesired collateral effects.

An example of punishment would be if you hit your dog or yell at him because he climbed on the armchair. As a consequence you may get your dog off of the armchair, but there is no guarantee that he won't climb again. Some possible undesired consequences could be that your dog bites you, he gets scared each time you appear or he gets phobia to armchairs.

Choke chains, prong collars and shock (electric) collars are common tools in traditional training and all its variants. Also, this kind of training is usually targeted to dog obedience exercises, disregarding behavioral problems.

Advocates of this technique often argue that traditional training provides reliable results which can't be obtained with other techniques. They also claim that training collars (choke, prong and shock) are harmless because dogs have a high threshold of pain.

Detractors of traditional dog training argue that both the technique and the tools are cruel and violent. They also claim that the technique can cause dangerous collateral effects, such as fear biting and damages to the dog's trachea.

Rodrigo Trigosso invites you to learn everything about dog training at where you can find great info on canine training and behavior.

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