Training obedience is essential for every dog owner, as it lays the foundation for a well-behaved and responsive canine companion. As you embark on this journey, it's crucial to explore different training philosophies to find the approach that aligns with your goals and your dog's unique personality. At Suburban K9, we use balanced training. This type of training encourages good behaviors with positive reinforcement and addresses bad behavior with gentle corrections while constantly observing the dog to ensure we never scare or intimidate.
By combining positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior and using fair and light corrections to call out bad behavior, this training philosophy yields fantastic results while never taking actions meant to scare or intimidate the dog. Therefore in this article, we will delve into the benefits of balanced training and how it can contribute to effective obedience training for your beloved furry friend.
The Benefits of Balanced Training Obedience
Balanced training is a comprehensive training philosophy that combines positive reinforcement with mild corrections to achieve obedience. Additionally it emphasizes clear communication, effective problem-solving, increased reliability, customization, and the strengthening of the bond between you and your dog. Let's explore these benefits in detail:
Six advantages of Balanced Training Obedience
- Clear Communication: One of the key advantages of balanced training is its emphasis on clear and effective communication between you and your dog. Furthermore, by using a balanced approach that includes positive reinforcement and mild corrections, you provide consistent feedback that helps your dog understand and learn desired behaviors. This clear communication ensures that your dog comprehends what is expected of them, making the training process more efficient and fruitful.
- Effective Problem-Solving: Balanced training equips you with a versatile toolbox to address a wide range of training challenges effectively. While positive reinforcement alone can be highly effective for many behaviors, there are often instances where a correction is necessary to discourage undesirable actions. Whereas the balanced approach allows you to tackle behavioral issues comprehensively, providing effective solutions and facilitating faster progress in your dog's training.
- Increased Reliability: Reliable obedience is a paramount goal in dog training, and balanced training is designed to achieve precisely that. By combining positive reinforcement and mild corrections, you teach your dog to respond consistently to commands, even in distracting or challenging environments. This reliability ensures that your dog follows your instructions promptly and reliably, enhancing their safety and your peace of mind.
- Customization to Individual Needs: Every dog is unique, with distinct temperaments, learning styles, and preferences. The beauty of balanced training lies in its flexibility and adaptability. It allows you to customize your training methods to suit your dog's individual needs. By combining positive reinforcement and corrections in a balanced manner, you can find the right blend that motivates your dog.
- Strengthened Bond: Balanced training not only fosters obedience but also strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion. Through consistent communication, trust-building exercises, and a balanced reinforcement system, you establish a deep connection built on mutual respect and understanding.
How Do I Train My Dog Using a Balance Training Obedience Approach?
Do you want your dog to listen to their obedience commands every time? Do you want your dog to be truly obedient? It is a lot of work, but we are here to help! Below we will show you how to make sure your dog listens to every command every time!
If you want your dog to listen every time you give a command, you need a system to both praise and correct them. The level of praise and corrections depends on your dog. In the early phases of teaching, we use a ton of praise to reinforce the command words to make sure your dog truly knows what we are asking of them. In this video, we are working with a dog who knows his commands, which means we are reinforcing commands, not teaching commands! Consistency is key, no matter what stage you are at in your dog's training.
Before we start on any obedience commands, the first thing we teach our dogs is the heel command on leash. When we are teaching our commands at the start, everything is done in the heel position. Heel for us means eyes and ears at our heel facing forward. We want to make sure they are not too focused on other things. This step should be true no matter what distractions are present. Heel turns are used to help get a dog's attention! Remember to hold the leash and collar loosely.
Corrections for Training Obedience
For all of our obedience commands, we follow the same rules if your dog knows the command already. First, we say your dog's name and whatever command we want. We only say the command once. If they listen, we praise them, generally with soft verbal and physical praise. If they do not, we will give a correction. The firmness of the correction depends on what command we are doing, and we get into more detail in the video. Remember to not praise them if they make a mistake or do not listen, and we only ask once!
For the sit command, we expect our dog to sit at our side in the heel position if we are heeling and using the leash. If they listen, praise them. If they make a mistake, use a verbal no and a tug up for sit. One command, one correction!
Sit stay is a useful command for a variety of reasons. For instance, we typically use this at the front door or for meet and greets! If your dog does well, praise them! For our stay commands, we use three release words. Those are heel, free, and come! Yet, if your dog breaks this command, tell them no, walk them back to the stop, and give them two tugs; One for sit, and one for stay! We tell clients to work on the 3 D’s, or Distance, Duration, and Distractions. First, start off with easy distractions, and eventually, we make this harder! As a result, the goal is to make sure your dog can listen in any environment or situation you take them in.
The down command is one of our favorite commands! Initially, make sure you are giving the command with a finger point at first to help encourage a dog. Then, if they do not listen the first time, flag it with a verbal no, and give a direction tug down. Make sure our dog is not leaning on you! When this happens, make sure you reposition them to how you want. It is best to address this early on when your dog is off-leash.
Down stay is the exact same thing as sit stay in terms of rules but has an additional step. We call the down stay the “mom and dad command” as it is a more long-term command. Surprisingly, dogs can easily hold this for 30-60 minutes at a time, meaning you can train and do something else! If your dog breaks this command, flag it with a verbal no, walk them back to their spot, and give three tugs. One for sit, one for down, and one for stay.
The come command is the most difficult command for a dog to master, but one of the most important commands when it comes to off-leash control. For a complete breakdown of our come command, please watch our video below and the accompanying article here!
Proofing - The final stage of Training Obedience
The key to all of this is to be 100% constant; occasional corrections alone are not enough for your dog to listen all the time. Therefore your dog needs to learn that every time they make a mistake, you will be there to correct them. Your training sessions should always be more positive than negative as well.
Accordingly, if you spend the majority of your time giving corrections, you need to re-evaluate and try something easier so you and your dog can build off of success. Work back up to what was troubling you later. If you have not done so already, please check out our awesome article on proofing your dog's obedience!
As you embark on the journey of training obedience in your dog, consider the numerous benefits of balanced training. In brief, this comprehensive approach, which combines positive reinforcement with mild corrections, offers clear communication, effective problem-solving, increased reliability, customization, and a strengthened bond between you and your furry friend. Accordingly, by adopting a balanced training philosophy, you set the stage for a well-behaved, responsive, and happy dog.