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Everything You Need to Know About the Different Types of Dog Training

June 08, 2022 3 min read

collie shaking paw with owner

By Melounix / Shutterstock.com

Got a new puppy you need to train? There are many different approaches to training dogs, some more effective than others. In this guide, we’ve rounded up 11 of the most popular training techniques and given a brief overview of each of them to help you decide which types of training are best for you and your dog. Without further ado, let’s dive in: 

Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive reinforcement is effective and gentle, but it takes consistency to work properly. It involves rewarding good, desired behavior while ignoring bad and unwanted behavior. The reward can take the form of praise, dog chews, toys, or all three.

Clicker Training

Clicker training is a specific form of positive reinforcement that involves using a clicking noisemaker whenever you dispense the treat reward. This teaches the dog to associate the clicker sound with the behavior and the reward. Over time, you phase out the natural dog treats until the dog responds to the clicking noise alone.

Alpha Dominance Training

Once very popular, alpha training — a.k.a. dominance training — has now fallen out of favor. It is based on the idea that dogs are pack animals, and therefore owners need to establish their position as the “alpha” by going through doors first, eating their meals first, not allowing dogs on the furniture, and so on. Since most dog parents see their furry loved ones as family members, not subordinates, this training technique is no longer very popular.

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E-Collar Training

E-collar training, also known as electronic training, involves giving the dog an electric shock or a spray of unpleasant citronella when they engage in unwanted behavior. The opposite of positive reinforcement, this negative training technique focuses on teaching a dog what not to do instead of what they should do. The shock can also cause physical and psychological harm to the dog, potentially backfiring.

Model-Rival Training

The model-rival training method involves the dog watching either a human or another dog perform the desired behavior (modeling) and receive a reward (thus becoming a “rival”). This technique was created in order to train parrots originally, but it has proved effective with dogs in certain circumstances.

labrador wearing training vest

By Shine Caramia / Shutterstock.com

Behavioral Training

Behavioral training focuses on addressing specific ongoing issues such as biting, digging, and chewing that far outlast normal puppy stages. If your dog has persistent behavioral issues, working with a skilled dog trainer can help them overcome them and make your life together much easier for both of you.

Obedience Training

Obedience training focuses on teaching your dog basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “lie down,” and “wait.” Many owners do obedience training at home using positive reinforcement techniques, and you can also sign up for obedience classes at your local pet store to further support your obedience training goals.

Agility Training

Agility training involves coaching your dogs through obstacles using only your voice and body language. It is a great way to stimulate high-energy dogs that are easily bored. Not every dog is well-suited for agility training, but for very active breeds, it can be an awesome outlet for their extra energy. Agility training should not begin until the dog is at least one year old to ensure that they are fully grown.

dog jumping over obstacle

By Lisjatina / Shutterstock.com

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Service Training

There are many different types of service dogs, from guide dogs to diabetic alert dogs. Each type of service dog requires specific training to assist with certain physical and mental conditions, and they must pass tests and certifications to ensure that they can meet the requirements. Because the training is so specialized, most service dogs are trained by dedicated agencies that have a lot of experience.

Therapy Training

Therapy dogs are different from service dogs. Therapy dogs provide emotional support for people in vulnerable conditions, such as sick people in hospitals. Their training is less extensive and specialized than a service dog’s, but they still need to pass the American Kennel Club’s test for therapy dogs in order to be cleared for therapy visits.

Tracking

Scent training can be just for fun, or it can have practical applications. Many hunters train their dogs to find animals based on scent, and the military and police also train dogs to sniff for drugs or bombs as well. However, you can also do scent training on your own at home to stimulate your dog and help work off some of their excess energy.

Choosing the right treats is essential for an effective training experience. At Best Bully Sticks, we offer all kinds of single-ingredient dog treats, including antlers for dogs, so that you can rest assured knowing that your dog is getting the highest quality possible. Try a sample of treats for variety, or sign up for our dog treat subscription box if you already know your pup’s favorite treat!


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