Originally, the relationship between canines and humans was a symbiotic one, which means that it was mutually beneficial for them to live together. They helped each other out. As mankind evolved, so too did their relationship with dogs. Nowadays, the bond is one of companionship and love. People keep dogs as pets, but communicating instructions to a dog can be difficult. However, it is not impossible, particularly if a dog is correctly trained.
It is the intention of this guide to explore in detail the various methods of training dogs, as well as the commonly available tools and products, which have proved indispensable in modern times for anyone wishing to effectively train their dog. This guide will also point out the ways in which the consumer bidding website, eBay is the perfect medium with which to shop for aids for basic puppy obedience training.
Obedience Teaching Techniques
Over the many years that human beings have been living with dogs, we have used psychological and behavioural principles, combined with emergent technologies, to refine the ways in which we train our canine companions. The following section details several basic objects that are used for dog training, and how they are used.
The most fundamental and commonly used behavioural reinforcement technique applied to the training of dogs is that of positive reinforcement. The idea behind positive reinforcement is simple. The initiative is that if a dog gets a reward for a certain kind of behaviour, they will associate that behaviour with the reward, and behave that way when told to in future instances. In this way, an owner can encourage their dog to behave in ways that they consider to be correct. For instance, if the owner wants the dog to ‘sit’, they make it sit down, and then give it the reward. The dog associates the sitting with the reward, and will sit down in future when told, in the hope of attaining another reward.
This leaves the question of what to use as a reward. It must be, by definition, something that the dog will enjoy. Whilst a friendly tone of voice and encouraging words and body language will often help, they are not enough on their own. Most owners will use treats. Treats are small pieces of food, which the dog enjoys immensely. Treats serve as a very powerful incentive when encouraging good behaviour.
There are many kinds of dog treats. The most widely available are:
- Rawhide Bones
- Rawhide Twists
- Pig Ears
- Dog Biscuits
There is also an enormous array of homemade dog treats available on eBay, made from many different materials, from liver to rabbit ears. The best treats to use depend on a dog’s personal taste, which can be determined by the enthusiasm the dogs shows to different kinds of treats.
Whilst on the one hand good behaviour can be encouraged by rewards, the question of discouraging bad behaviour in dogs is a touchier subject. There are numerous ways of indicating to a dog that certain behaviours are not acceptable.
The psychological principle is very similar to that of the positive reinforcement branch of behavioural conditioning. By creating an association in the dog’s mind between a certain behaviour that the owner considers undesirable, and a physically unpleasant sensation, the behaviour can be eradicated. However, there is a fine line between negative reinforcement and animal cruelty. It would not, for instance, be acceptable to use physical violence against a pet.
Modern technology has provided us with an elegant solution to this problem. There are numerous remote-control dog collars available on eBay, designed specifically to discourage inappropriate behaviour. They feature a device attached to the collar. This device can do one of a few things, depending on the type of collar. These can be:
- Spray – the device emits a burst of liquid, spraying the dog in the face.
- Shock – the device issues a small electric shock to the dog.
- Noise – the device produces a loud noise, such as a click.
These functions are activated by a control held by the owner. When the dog begins to undertake the undesirable behaviour, the owner activates the remote control. The device activates, and the dog experiences an unpleasant sensation. This results in the dog associating the behaviour with the sensation. Thus, the dog will not persist in the unwanted action.
There is a tremendous selection of remote controlled dog collars on eBay.
One of the key elements of a puppy’s training is teaching it where it is acceptable to relieve itself. In some cases, this will be a simple matter of sending the dog outside to do its business. However, some dogs, particularly smaller ones, will spend a lot of time indoors, and as such will need to be taught to alleviate themselves in a particular place.
Picking the dog up every time it appears to need the toilet, and moving it to the designated toilet area can achieve this. This must be adhered to strictly, to prevent the dog from using the rest of the house as a toilet.
Toilet pads are a critically important piece of equipment for anyone attempting to train a dog to relieve itself indoors. The pads are laid down on the floor in the desired area. The dog is then moved onto that area to relieve itself. The pad is then rolled or folded up around the waste, containing it, and disposed of. Another pad is then placed on the floor for the dog to use.
Pads will often feature an absorbent surface, and an impenetrable plastic backing to protect the flooring. They are available in a number of sizes, materials and colours. The specifics of which sort of pads will be needed depends heavily on the kind of dog owned. eBay sports a wide selection of training pads, available in bulk.
Dog whistles are both practical and iconic devices used for dog training. They are designed to emit a frequency of sound, which is inaudible to humans, but very clearly audible to dogs. Dog whistles can be very loud. They have the advantage of not causing distress or distraction to human ears, whilst being very effective for use on the dog.
Dog whistles not only are very practical for calling a dog to come to the owner, but if loud enough can be used to discourage unwanted behaviour by causing pain to the dog’s ultra-sensitive ears. Dog whistles have become culturally iconic, due to the unusual nature of the phenomenon (namely being inaudible to humans whilst having such a strong effect on dogs).
People have been training dogs for centuries, if not millennia, and as such there is a large body of writing relating to the practice. There are numerous instructional guides on eBay, which go into immense detail regarding the best practices in dog and puppy training. These guides can be immeasurably useful to a first time puppy trainer, detailing all the required methods and equipment to raise the best pet possible. Buying one of these guides is highly recommended. There are many available on eBay.
Raising a puppy, and training it to be a good dog, can be one of the most immensely rewarding experiences known to mankind. A dog can provide companionship and love, but they must be trained, and this is not always easy. This guide set out to provide details on how to train a puppy, and the sort of equipment that is required. The following are all useful aids:
- Toilet Pads
Using eBay to buy the necessary equipment is both a practical and simple option, owing to the website’s excellent selection of products, and its helpful, user-oriented design.