Dog training can be defined as the application of behaviour that has been analysed based on the environmental antecedents and consequences that the trainer has observed and he uses this knowledge to modify the behaviour of the dog in such a way that suits the trainers or the owner’s intention. The behaviour could range from assisting in particular activities or undertaking particular tasks or the effective participation in the domestic lifestyle of the owner or the parent.
- The training of dogs for specific and suitable roles have dated back to the Roman times when dogs were identified as compatible household pets and later suburbanisation in the early nineteen hundred and fifties led to the concept of keeping dogs indoors.
- A dog by nature is a very diligent animal and has the ability to learn and adapt quickly from its environment. Their learning ability though varies a bit with better breeds. The training of a dog can be basically classified into two types. The first can be through classical conditioning (in this case, the dog gradually learns to form an association between two stimuli and responds accordingly) and the other type can be defined as non-associative training (here the dog’s behaviour is modified through sensitisation and operant conditioning. In a layman’s word basically the dog is taught to get habituated to the association between a certain antecedent and it’s relating consequences.
With the passing of time there has been a variety of techniques that have been established. And well all of them do have their own share of critics and followers. To name some of the time tested methods are the Koehler’s method, clicker training, dominance based training and negative reinforcement based training and relationship based training. But at the end of the day, the successes of the methods that have been applied largely depend on the attribute and personality of the dog. There also are other factors responsible like accurate timing of reinforcement followed by the timing of the punishment and communication on a consistent basis are also necessary.
The culture of offering dog boarding as a service came into the limelight since the early twentieth century with the advent of more and more urbanization, pets started to move indoors and currently a trend has been observed that pets occupy an integral part of the life style of the owner. They are treated as the family members and hence they are required to be taken care of when the family moves out of the town for a couple of days.
To address this issue, different veterinarians and pet boarding kennels are now open in various metropolitan cities that facilitate the owner to drop off their dogs for a set amount of time in exchange for a mutually agreed upon fee.
While the dogs are there in the boarding, they are fed, taken to walks and taken well care of by the kennel staffs that in turn are responsible for the well being of the dog. Various types of service are now being provided which includes dog day care boarding for the owners who are otherwise occupied for the whole day due to work or due to other commitments, and there are also long term boarding facilities for the vacations of the families.
By the late twentieth century dog boarding facilities have seen a rise as gradually the owners kept on going for longer trips and also demanded better care for their pets. In fact recently there are facilities that include luxurious accommodations and personalised care, although such premium features do come for a price, however owners are really willing to shed those extra dollars for the extra edge of effort and care for their beloved pets.
Obedience Training with a special focus on retrievers
Retrievers that belong to the Labrador clan are believed to be the most popular breed that the common people prefer in the United States. Hundreds of them are today found in the specifically designed obedience classes all across the United States.
Labrador dogs are considered comparatively easier to train. It is not that they are highly intelligent as there has been a false notation in the general public but if you listen to the experts they would rather say that the Labradors are moderately intelligent. This however is rather a benefit because experts say that actually the smarter dogs figure out a way to rather avoid the things that they don’t want to do and hence they pose more of a challenge to training in fact. If questioned, the obedience trainers would rather say that the training of the dog gets easier as it depends on the willingness of the dog to please rather than on his intelligence. In this context it can thus be concluded that retrievers are very willing to please.
In fact it is rather observed that when it comes top training the retrievers, the problem that arises is the over enthusiasm of the dog. Many Labradors generally turn out to be more enthusiastic than their owners generally think they would be. A young Labrador can behave more like a boisterous teenager and I quote an expert who says that “in those early years, you need to calm them down, calm them down, and calm them down”. The experts essentially focus on the patience of the owners or trainers in this case when it comes to obedience training of the Labradors because they as a breed take almost two to three years to mature.
The training of a Labrador in fact does require some strength on the behalf of the trainer as well as the parent because by breed they are very strongly built and have a very strong neck that resembles a bull. Training a retriever to walk on the lawn properly without pulling pose to be a very challenging exercise and that adds on to training them not to jump on strangers. Labradors by nature are very mouthy dogs and they tend to chew everything and to prevent them from doing so, it is recommended by the experts that they are given plenty of toys to carry around so that they are busy off and is not in a mood to chew off your household furniture. On a conclusive note it should be mentioned that the training of the Retriever is usually easy to moderately easy but it depends on the individual temperament of the dog and its own personality and of course the skills of the trainer.