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It is estimated that almost 70% of American families have one or more dogs as a pet in their homes. And truly, America and much of the rest of the world is a dog-loving culture. These cute (and sometimes not so cute) canines bring so much happiness into our daily lives. In many cases, we love dogs because they remind us of a favorite stuffed animal from our childhood. In other cases, we see our dogs as natural therapists, allowing us the opportunity to talk for hours on end, usually without interruption. The most popular reason, however, that we love dogs so much is that they love us endlessly and without conditions, no matter what.
That love for our dogs, while relatively consistent and eternal, can truly be challenged though when our dogs decide to misbehave. Nothing can be quite as frustrating, or terrifying, as a dog that has escaped your grasp outdoors and is bounding off towards who knows what. The dog that barks at anyone and anything that walks by can mean the dog owners can become the recipient of multiple fines too if there are barking regulations in your municipality.
It is not all that surprising the dog training is a necessary, and expectation, function and requirement of dog owners. Dog training isn’t just for small dogs either; dogs of all sizes can benefit from basic obedience training at a young age, and ongoing behavioral training for the next several years, and perhaps for their entire life.
The Benefits of Dog Training
Not only does dog training provide mental stimulation which can result in a happier and healthier dog, but it also provides some basic guidelines on expected behaviors. Almost all dogs, with very few exceptions, want to please their owners, but if the owners do not provide guidance and instruction, the dog will not understand what those appropriate or expected behaviors are all on their own.
There are several reasons as to why you should train your dog.
Training your dog helps the two of you to develop a positive relationship- Positive training which will reward and thus further motivate your dog to exhibit good behavior enables the development of a mutual relationship based on trust and respect, and not fear or intimidation. The most effective dog trainers are those who learn to influence the dog’s behavior without the use of heavy-handed force and work through problems in a humane manner. Dogs that are trained using positive reinforcement become more tolerant and self-controlled, and on average will behave much more predictably in different situations.
Training teaches your dog life skills that he cannot learn on his own – Dogs need to be taught how to live successfully in their home environment. Domesticated living does come with some requirements that are quite different from what is expected of a dog in the wild. Plus, when a dog is provided with the proper skills to live in your home, it will prevent anxiety as well as destructive behaviors such as chewing, inappropriate barking, and other destructive behaviors.
Training makes your dog more social – One of the primary reasons that dogs are surrendered to animal shelters is because they are not social and do not know how to properly interact with children, family members, and other dogs. In most cases, this is simply because the dog was never provided with the correct training or medical attention, and thus didn’t understand what was expected of him.
Training teaches those expected behaviors so that problematic situations can be largely avoided – It is important to remember that dogs are still animals, and thus the unexpected is always possible. But, when you take the time to train your dog, it builds communication between dog and owner that promotes security and comfort in the dog. Teaching your dog behaviors that have a purpose (thus teaching him fun tricks) can keep your dog safe and ensure the dog knows how to interact in their environment.
Training promotes loyalty and companionship – Demonstrating positive reinforcement does not mean you should simply ignore your dog's misbehaviors. It merely means that discipline should be taught and then provided by the use of constructive guidance Guiding and instruction your dog into how to make the right choices will help increase the bond between you.
Reward-based training focuses on informing your dog when he is doing something correctly, instead of focusing on what is incorrect. Thus, this approach centers on positive reinforcement and rewards behaviors that we like to see. In most cases, these rewards include praise such as a belly rub, pat on the top of the head, or maybe a quick tumble in the yard together. In other cases, these good behaviors can be rewarded with a treat or a small snack.
Training that focuses on positive behaviors and rewards can be highly effective, but as even more effective when it is combined with alerting a dog when they are exhibiting a non-desirable behavior. Just like a young child, dogs need to be conditioned to demonstrate those positive behaviors and need to learn that punishment might be in order when they are naughty. Repercussions for naughty behaviors don’t have to, and for the most part, should not include yelling or anger. While a dog owner should help their dog to understand the difference of a happy and uplifting voice used when rewarding good behavior, and a firm and disappointed voice when an undesirable behavior is shown, there should never be a need to use heavy-handed punishment.
Using a Dog Collar to Support Training
With large dogs in particular (though dogs of all kinds and sizes can benefit) collar training can provide substantial benefit to dog owners. Many pet owners have jumped to the conclusion that since training collars can shock the dog, that the treatment is inhumane. But in most cases, this is an incorrect belief as these low levels of correction are far less heavy-handed than using a choke or pinch collar which can be damaging to a dog’s throat or larynx. Training collars also provide a substantial safety benefit in that they can indicate when a dog is demonstrating a dangerous behavior (such as running out of the yard and onto a road). These collars can also help reinforce that biting and nipping or jumping on people are never appropriate behaviors.
The physical stimulation that is provided by these collars results in an immediate response which is often more effective than using voice, clickers, clapping, or whistling. Dogs are highly skilled at blocking out auditory stimulus when they are off exploring and investigating something that has drawn their interest. And, like humans, a dog’s hearing can often erode over time, making these collars an excellent solution for dogs of all ages.
Most training collars, such as the Rechargeable Pawsmile Dog Shock Collar, offer multiple levels and options for sound and stimulus. These collars are not designed as punishments. Rather, they are to be used to deter negative or unsafe behaviors, and over time, the dog starts to associate those undesirable behaviors with an uncomfortable jolt, or an unpleasant beep, and thus no longer require the reminders. In many cases, dog owners such as myself have learned that just by putting the collar on the dog (even when the collar is not charged), that the dog seems to magically understand that they are expected to be on their best behavior, and the click of a button on the owner’s remote is no longer necessary.
The Pawsmile Dog Shock Collar offers three training modes: beep, vibration, and shock, and has 100 levels of intensity to enable personalized training. When training your dog with a training collar, follow the guidelines below, and ensure your dog is at least six months of age before using the device:
- Start by ensuring that the collar is properly fitted to your dog’s neck. The prongs should be in contact with the skin and the collar should be snug. If your dog has longer fur, you may need to shave the hair where the collar will be placed to ensure you have a proper connection. The Pawsmile training device does come with two different collars; the bonus nylon collar is lighter and more comfortable for your small dog. Both collars are adjustable (28 inches), and can fit breeds of dogs from ten pounds to 100 pounds in size. Soft silicone covers are fitted on the probes which ensures protection from shock-related injuries. Note: this product does come with two sets of prongs and you may find that your dog will require the longer prongs for training to be effective.
- When you start training your dog with the collar, start by using a firm voice, and then following up on the command with a beep. If that is not successful after a few attempts, then move on to using your firm and authoritative voice again, but use the vibrate function as a follow-up to the command if the dog does not do what is requested.
- If at this point, the dog is not responding to your beep and vibrate, double-check that the collar is appropriately fitted and charged. Also, make sure that you can hear the beep and feel the vibration when selecting the command on the remote. If not, review the user’s manual to ensure that you are using the product properly, and if you are, please feel free to reach out to us to address any questions, or to request a replacement if the product is malfunctioning. It is imperative that you ensure that the unit is working and that your dog has your attention but is not responding to the beep or vibrate before you move on to the shock option.
- Once you have worked through any concerns as outlined in step three and you have confirmed that the beep (tone) and vibration are not working for your dog, you can move on to the shock option, at the lowest possible stimulus level. You should always start with the lowest level of shock stimulus and observe your dog’s reaction before moving on to the next level.
- Experiment as needed and as appropriate with the momentary or nick function, vs. the continuous stimulus. When using the shock function (sometimes referred to as a jolt), if you hit and release the button, the dog will receive a quick shock. If you hold the button down, the dog will receive a continuous stimulus. With the Pawsmile Dog Shock Collar, the maximum amount of time that you can deliver the vibration or the shock to your dog continuously is ten seconds.
Some important points about the Pawsmile Dog Shock Collar
As with any electronic dog training collar device, make sure that you discontinue use of the product for at least 48 hours if your dog’s neck becomes red and irritated. Further, the next time you use, try making the collar a bit looser and see if it is still effective. While the collar should fit snugly, it is possible to make it too tight and this should be avoided.
Avoid leaving the training collar on your dog for more than 12 hours per day. Your dog should not be expected to sleep through the night with the collar on, or when relaxing around the home and the latter of the two should only be when absolutely necessary.
When training, make sure that you are reinforcing positive behaviors with praise. The training collar is designed as a back-up trainer that is used when your canine is not responding to your firm commands and guidance. If you provide your dog with a verbal cue and the dog does as desired, be sure to follow up with words of praise, a scratch behind the ears, a tummy rub, or some other reward that your dog enjoys (such as a treat). When using treats as your primary reward, be sure that your dog is hungry, or training might not be as effective. While most dogs are always hungry or excited for a treat, these yummy snacks are less effective for some dogs than for others.
As an essential note, the Pawsmile collar is IP67 fully waterproof, so your water-loving dog can freely swim, get a bath, or play in the puddles or rain when the collar is on. This makes the product a great benefit for dogs that are being trained to retrieve in the water. However, please note that the remote is not water-safe, and so it should be kept and used safely away from water-exposure. Since the wireless control is designed to work with up to an 1800-foot remote range, dog owners can easily water-train their dogs without getting into the water with the remote.
Dog training should be a fun and rewarding activity
When using proper techniques to train your dog, the results will be exceptionally gratifying, and the process of training will be a long-lasting bonding experience for you and your dog. A dog’s natural inclination is to please you, and so when you leverage the proper order for reinforcement and stimulus, you can teach your dog at the level that they will best respond to. Do not assume that your dog who has been misbehaving will only respond to the highest level of shock training. This is far from the truth and can result in more behavioral issues if a dog is not given an option to react and respond to lesser forms of stimulus.
And finally, collar training should always be used in conjunction with positive reinforcement. Training should be a fun activity that is looked forward to you by you and your dog. It should not be used as a form of punishment. When you take the time to teach your dog and reward them, you will have the opportunity to better enjoy your dog and all of the unconditional love that they will provide to you and your family.