Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Learning Process

Your puppy learns by a combination of the following: observation, hearing, reactions to stimuli, and memory recall, as well as instinct. Instinct is something every animal is born with- a subconscious involuntary ability to react in a given way without having to apply any conscious thought to the matter. It is a safety valve, a means that helps all animals to survive when they have no previous experiences to draw from. Instinct can be overridden by memory because it gives the animal alternative choices based on the consequences of past actions. In the absence of experiences, an animal will always react in an instinctive manner.

" Training your puppy will be much easier once you fully understand how your puppy learns."

Common Mistakes in Beginning Training - Before training your puppy understand that your weaknesses can effect a pup as he matures into a dog. The most common error is to assume the puppy fully understands what you say. He is able to associate certain word sounds to required actions. The toone of the voice, and facial expressions, are also important in helping the puppy to understand the requirement of the word, and its context.

For these reasons, words, used in training should be short, never sentences, Hand signals must always be quite clear and distinct from any other signal that might convey a totally different requirement. Another concern is inconsistency. If a given behavior pattern is or is not acceptable there must be no variation in your reaction to it. You cannot allow your puppy to sleep on a chair one day, but not on the next. You must never call your puppy to you and then apply discipline, having given praise on other occasions. Also, remember you can not discipline a dog in the present for something done in the past, and expect he will associate the discipline with the most recent thing he did- usually coming to you. These common mistakes are the recipe for a confused dog. Unfortunately many owners seem unable to understand these realities, and unwittingly make training more difficult.

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