RELATIONSHIP-BASED TRAINING

RELATIONSHIP-BASED TRAINING

Relationship-based training combines several different training methods, but focuses on a more individualized approach for both dog and owner. It is the relationship between dog and human that drives everything. This method strives to meet the needs of the dog and the trainer, to foster communication, and to strengthen their bond. Basically, it’s about being mutually beneficial. The owner must know how to read their dog’s body language, what rewards most motivate their dog, and how to meet their dog’s basic needs before each training session begins.

Positive reinforcement is used to encourage good behaviors, and the dog’s environment is controlled to limit possible unwanted behaviors. New information is built on previous success. For example, a dog must learn to “sit” in a quiet room before trying to perform the command in a park with squirrels and kids and other distractions. Difficulty is increased gradually.

When a dog doesn’t perform the desired behavior, the owner must figure out why instead of punishing. Is the dog distracted? Hurt? Unable to hear? Or just unwilling to perform? This relationship-based training leads to a deep and meaningful bond, but it takes time and patience. It may not have enough to differentiate it from other training methods, but rather seems to be inclusive of many aspects of other successful methods. You may find that your relationship with your dog improves regardless of which training method you use, and certainly that bond will help you continue your training.