Thursday, June 14, 2007
PNWPBR Training Guide!
Pacific Northwest Pit Bull Rescue’s
To training your Pit Bull
There are many, many ways to train dogs. Most people think of dog training as the simple: “Sit!” or maybe “Shake” when it comes to training their pet companion, but part of being a responsible Pit Bull owner is taking your training a few steps further than that.
Since owning an American Pit Bull Terrier puts you and your dog in the public’s eye, your actions and your dog’s actions will reflect on the breed as a whole. Having a well-trained Pit Bull is one way to not only ensure that Pit Bull’s are viewed in a positive manner, but to make the relationship between you and your dog a happy one!
First let’s go over two different types of training:
Classical Conditioning is a way to create a specific emotional state within your dog in response to a specific stimulus. Think back to school and Pavlov’s dogs…. Pavlov conditioned his dogs to drool when they heard the sound of a bell. He did so by ringing the bell before mealtime and the dogs learned to associate the bell with food. Food then would cause the dogs to salivate. In time, the mere sound of the bell would cause the dogs to salivate, food or not.
To use Classical Conditioning to create a desirable result you introduce a stimulus to the dog’s environment. Immediately after the stimulus you would then introduce some thing good, a toy, a treat, ect. When Pavlov would ring his bell for example, he would then introduce the food. Bell= Food= Positive association for the dogs at the sound of the bell.
Now with this type of training a shy dog or a dog that has once received negative stimulus may take longer to overcome their emotional response to a situation. Classical Conditioning is emotional based so depending on the dogs emotional state or health depends on the progress in your training.
Operant Conditioning is different from Classic Conditioning as it is not about emotional responses to stimulus, but instead your dog learning he/she can affect their environment through their actions. For example: Many dogs learn that if they sit when we tell them to, they get a treat. They learn to understand that whether or not they get a treat depends on their behavior!
Operant Conditioning has four goals in it’s method of training. First, it sets “ground rules” for teaching and training. Second, based on the ground rules the dog learns to be responsible for it’s behavior: Good Behavior= Reward, Bad Behavior= Nothing. Third, the dog learns to understand that they have to work with people to get something desireable, and therefore will actually start to seek out opportunities to engage with people. Fourth, the dog will approach learning with confidence and become better to come with new situations.
Now let’s talk about the basic Principles of Operant Conditioning!
Create a “Positive Reward Marker.” Your Positive Reward Marker can be whatever you and your dog decide on. It can be a word, a sound, a hand signal, some people use a clicker. This Positive Reward Marker is the way you will tell your dog that they are doing something good, mark the good behavior and that a treat is coming! Make sure that you use your Positive Reward Marker the same EACH time you train your dog and IMMEDIATELY after your dog does the positive behavior!
Now that you have your Positive Reward Marker, you have to move on to the dirty deed of choosing a Negative Reward Marker. Again, a sound, a signal, a hand gesture. We use the sound “Eh-eh” and said quickly and sharply it marks that your dog has done something negative and that no reward is coming. Remember to use this with the same efficiency as your Positive Reward Marker, right after the negative behavior!
Now that we have our Markers we can move on to Positive and Negative Reinforcement as well as Positive and Negative Punishment.
Positive Reinforcement: Using something appealing that encourages the dog to repeat the good behavior
Example- Giving the dog a treat for good behavior
Negative Reinforcement: Taking away something un-appealing that encourages the dog to repeat the behavior.
Example- Reduce the pressure on the leash when the dog stops pulling
Positive Punishment: Using something un-appealing that discourages the dog from repeating the bad behavior
Example: Saying “NO!” or using a squirt bottle
Negative Punishment: Taking away something appealing that discourages the dog from repeating the behavior
Example: Withholding the treat when the dog jumps on you.
To summarize: The goal of “punishment” is to discourage the dog from repeating the behavior. Always follow punishment with positive reinforcement when the dog then performs the correct behavior.
Now that we have gone over two types of basic training you can do at home with your dog, let’s not forget that sometimes professional training is helpful! Using a professional trainer can help you ease some of the frustration of reading about training and then trying to execute it yourself. A trainer can show you how to execute and explain a lot better than a book can!
Here’s a list of a few local dog training facilities that we recommend!
Happy-Go-Lucky Dog Training & Playcare (Portland)
Auntie Tracy/Auntie Sally Dog Training (Portland)
Group and private positive dog training
Pawsitively Possible (Portland)
Romp and Rastle (Portland)
Connie Skinner’s Mind your Manners (Battleground)
Smart Partners Dog Training (Vancouver)
K-9 Conversation (Vancouver)
Having trouble finding a certified trainer close to you? Look here!
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Now say you have a wonderfully trained pet companion, a Pit Bull Ambassador…. What next? Well there are two tests that we would love to see all of our PNWPBR Alumni take and pass!!!
First let’s start with the Canine Good Citizen!
“Welcome to the AKC's Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program Sponsored by K9 Advantix®. Started in 1989, CGC is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.
Many dog owners choose Canine Good Citizen training as the first step in training their dogs. The Canine Good Citizen Program lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events. As you work with your dog to teach the CGC skills, you'll discover the many benefits and joys of training your dog. Training will enhance the bond between you and your dog. Dogs who have a solid obedience education are a joy to live with-they respond well to household routines, have good manners in the presence of people and other dogs, and they fully enjoy the company of the owner who took the time to provide training, intellectual stimulation, and a high quality life. We sincerely hope that CGC will be only a beginning for you and your dog and that after passing the CGC test, you'll continue training in obedience, agility, tracking, or performance events.
AKC's Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program Sponsored by K9 Advantix® is one of the most rapidly growing programs in the American Kennel Club. There are many exciting applications of this wonderful, entry level that go beyond the testing and certifying of dogs.
Many other countries (including England, Australia, Japan, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, and Finland) have developed CGC programs based on the AKC's CGC Program. A CGC Neighborhood Model has been established, police and animal control agencies use CGC for dealing with dog problems in communities, some therapy dog groups use the CGC as a partial screening tool, and some 4-H groups around the country have been using the CGC as a beginning dog training program for children.
A number of specialty (one breed only) clubs give the CGC at their annual national dog show. Dog clubs have discovered that the CGC is an event that allows everyone to go home a winner. Veterinarians have recognized the benefits of well-trained dogs and there are some CGC programs in place in veterinary hospitals. State legislatures began recognizing the CGC program as a means of advocating responsible dog ownership and 22 states now have Canine Good Citizen resolutions.
In a little over one decade, the Canine Good Citizen Program has begun to have an extremely positive impact in many of our communities. This is a program that can help us assure that the dogs we love will always be welcomed and well-respected members of our communities. “
What does all of that mean to you? Well it means if you take the test, and you and your dog pass…. Your rescued pooch goes from once abandoned to an official Canine Good Citizen!! Not only are they making all Pit Bulls everywhere look better, but it has been easier for CGC Pit Bulls to be in rentals, easier to obtain homeowner’s insurance and not to mention throwing it out when someone says that your Pit Bull is “Vicious.” For more information on the CGC go to the link provided above and then contact us when you feel you are ready to take the test!
One other test we would love to see your PNWPBR alumni take and pass is the American Temperament Test. You can find out more information about the organization and the test here: http://www.atts.org/
If your Pit Bull takes and passes the test you and your dog are helping bump up the national number of Temperament Tested Pit Bulls.
AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER
Taken Passed Failed Percent Passed
542 456 86 84.1%
Our goal is to get those numbers into the 90% and we can’t do it without your help!! For questions about the test or upcoming tests in our area please feel free to contact us!
Please remember that your dog being well-behaved not just in your home, but in public is very important to us. If you have issues with training, finding a trainer, or any of the tests we discussed in this handout please feel free to contact us! We are here to make your adoption as well as your and your dog’s lives together successful!!
Property of PNWPBR 2007
at 10:33 PM