TRAINING ADVICE & RESOURCES
What is "positive reinforcement" training?
Positive reinforcement training is rewarding your dog for learning to behave the way you want him to.…by rewarding the behaviours you like, which will increase the likelihood that he will want to repeat the behaviour again, as he knows he’ll probably get a reward for doing it!
Timing and consistency are key to this type of training; you must reward your dog promptly upon getting the desirable behaviour you were looking for, so that your dog will begin to associate that behaviour with a reward. The training must be consistent as well, so your dog does not become confused as to what behaviour you are asking him for.
People used to think that dog training was only about teaching dogs obedience "commands", usually through the use of heavy-handed punishment-based techniques. Science has evolved, and with it the profession of dog training has become more popular, but not without controversy. Not all dog trainers are the same and sadly the dog training industry is unregulated.
Many traditional trainers still continue to promote outdated dominance and punishment-based philosophies, so caution is advised when seeking out training information online and when choosing a trainer.
Dog Training at MADRA
At MADRA we only use and promote positive reinforcement dog training. We use cues instead of commands and rely on peer reviewed science-based training methods to make learning as rewarding, ethical, successful and easy as possible - for the humans as well as the dogs!
Our team, led by our IMDT* qualified trainer, Carrie Hoade, always use positive training; working on rewards and motivating dogs for behaviour we want. It also allows us to foster a relationship with our dogs based on mutual trust and respect, instead of fear and intimidation. We want training to be fun for our dogs. Our team are always motivated to keep up-skilling and stay up-to-date with the latest research in dog behaviour and training. This helps us to teach our rescue dogs new life skills that they can take with them to their new homes when they're adopted.
*Institute of Modern Dog Trainers
Carrie showed us some basics and got us started on a training plan. We cannot tell you the difference this has made to us. In two short days, we can see a significant difference in Scruff. He is easier to walk on the lead already and today we had a successful interaction with another dog which did not leave either us or Scruff in a ball of sweat!!! We now know what to do when he reacts to a dog. We now know why he is reacting the way he is. We now know some tricks to occupy his mind and keep him calm.
We have also been working a lot on calming activities. As he's so clever it doesn’t take a whole lot to over-stimulate Tobín so we’ve been working on mechanisms to help to bring him back down and relax him. Something that he has been very receptive to has been ‘click to calm’ training.
We really want to commend all at MADRA as it cannot be said enough times that the work they do is so critical, and without them dogs like ours wouldn’t have a second chance.