Science Based Methods Make Sure The Dog Is An Active Participant In The Training Process
For many years, I trained with methods I really now considered “Old School”. Of course they worked, or I wouldn’t have ever been successful as a dog trainer. Over the course of my learning I have really included the dog more and more. It is really helpful to know that the dog learns better when he learns he can do something rather than when we try to show him how to do it.
It used to be common to make a reactive dog sit when other dogs pass on a walk. This is particularly difficult for dogs that are reactive, and since for the most part, the reactive dogs are actually scared, when we make them sit still we are forcing them to remain close to what they are afraid of, so the fear will more than likely, get worse. The more we do that, the dog actually becomes more uncomfortable and the reactive behavior gets worse. In fact we often corrected the dog when he tried to get up and retreat. Though the symptoms of the aggressive response went away, a better way would be to allow him time to choose on his own to retreat.
From the dog’s point of view, he is a lot safer if he knows it is ok to get back to where he feels safe. Plus he is a lot more willing to trust a teacher who progresses along with his confidence level. So making sure the dog is an active participant is what choice base training is all about. The trust is increased and the dog actually learns faster because he gains the knowledge he can succeed.