Canine and pet training

Is an ethologist the same as a trainer? Are trained dogs different? How to get our pet sit down at the “Sit” order? Is the dog training difficult? Trained animals do not have to be smarter than those that are not trained, but it is clear that they have gone through a learning phase where they recognize an order that triggers a certain action.

Nor should we confuse the word “educated” with “trained”, because the first indicates a positive coexistence with humans and the second that the animal has the ability to act in a certain way in front of an order. In this sense, we can say that the ethologist studies the behavior of animals from a scientific point of view and the trainer teaches the animal to behave in a certain way. Both disciplines are overlapping and have common elements, but the ethologist is usually concerned about certain behaviors that cause problems (clinical) of coexistence of animals with humans and trainers by immediate responses to an order. A trained dog, who sits down to give the order “sit”, does not have to be well educated (They can pee at home for have psychological disorders). The ethologist, can feel the need to train the animal in orther not perform certain things, but also have other methods that can be; pharmacological, surgical, environmental modification …

Fotografía de adiestramiento canino.

So, for the animal to respond to a certain order, we mean to be trained, it has to follow three premises::

  • Know what to do.
  • Know what to get.
  • Know how to get.

In this way, in front of a stimulus that is our order, the animal will act in a certain way to get an award that technically is known as reinforcement. For example, by giving the command “sit” the animal knows what to do (sit down) to get an award or reinforcement (caress, food, toy …).

Far away is the use of punishment in the sense of causing pain or suffering to the animal to train them. Modern training systems are based on positive reinforcement1 that awards a prize to the animal when performing a certain action after giving an order. This method is usually accompanied by a clicker that emits the “Click” sound just at the moment of performing the desired action. The time between the click and the award should not be longer than three seconds.

Fotografía de clicker de adiestramiento canino

(Clicker)

 

Indicate that the training methods can be varied and does not always have to follow the indicated pattern. Also note, that not all animals have the same facility of training. Thus, for example, it is much easier to train a dog than a cat.

We believe that the use of positive reinforcement is the best way to have fun with the animal, creating at the same time a beneficial link between the dog and the owner. We also believe that every owner should have at least his dog trained to respond to a certain order that helps modify undesirable behavior. Anyway, do not forget to consult your veterinarian after modifying the behavior of your animal.

Manel Morcillo

Veterinario

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