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    What is a trainer?

    What is a trainer?

    It is important you realize that a trainer is not just someone who works with dogs on a professional basis. Anyone who lives with an animal is a trainer of sorts, as training does not only occur when you pick up a treat bag, a whistle, a clicker or a leash. Dogs learn by watching us and take their cues from our body language and behavior and our own responses to stimuli. We are training our dogs every minute we are with them, whether we are aware of it or not. So, as we are constantly educating our dogs anyhow, it makes sense to shape this natural learning process into something that is productive, fun and rewarding, regardless of our long-term goals. However, it can be helpful to take your dog to some training classes, particularly if you are a  rst-time dog owner: you will both learn a lot, which will come in useful when you want to continue training on your own. Take care how you choose your trainer. Some people train dogs using negative reinforcement: this is an aversive technique that is used to punish the dog until an unacceptable behavior ceases. Others train by using positive reinforcement and by marking and rewarding the behaviors that they want, which is not only kinder but also far more effective.


    So. What do all the training terms mean to you and your dog? Well it depends on what your dog has already learned. Ideally ‘heel work’ means that your dog works closely by your side, either on or off the leash, but for some dogs ‘heel work’ means that they attach themselves resolutely to the bottom of a trouser leg with their teeth. ‘Send away’ for some people means teaching their dog to go to a mark on cue, but for others it may mean that visitors are sent running hysterically back to the sanctuary of their car with an errant hound in hot pursuit. And then, of course, there’s ‘down’ – it should not be the way you feel when you think about your relationship with your dog.

    Bud is a gorgeous Doberman whose owners had to make the diffi cult but correct decision to rehome him. He has slotted in easily with Sarah’s family because he was so beautifully trained using positive techniques. Bud still sees his original family and is a very happy hound

    Dogs learn by watching everything around them

    From 100 Ways to Train the Perfect Dog, Copyright by Sarah Fisher, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with D & C

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