|The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller is one of the best training books available today. We have never cared for punishment based training methods, including harsh drill-instructor tones, choke collars, and "zombie" dogs afraid to think on their own. For years, we decided to forgo any training at all because we could not find a positive training method based upon a "foundation of cooperation and trust rather than coercion and fear." When we found Pat's book, we were astonished that the positive training methods worked on our 5 dogs without altering our good relationship with them.
Pat Miller is a trainer with over 30 years experience and sits on the board of directors of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She started her career with the conventional punishment based training, but when she saw how it was affecting her relationship with her pets, she searched for and found a better method. Unlike some trainers, she was able to let go of the outdated, punishment based training and move forward.
There are several important positive training concepts in her book, but one of our favorites is: "You Dog Already Knows Everything You Are Going to Teach Him." Your dog already knows how to sit, stay, lie down, and walk by your side - when he wants to. "All you're going to do it teach him the English words for those behaviors and make them very rewarding and fun for him so he will want to do them when you ask him to."
The "equipment list" for basic positive reinforcement training is short and simple: It includes motivators, reward markers, collars, and leashes.
- Motivators: Something your dog likes and will work for. Make sure the motivator isn't bad or unhealthy for your dog. The motivators our 5 will work for are: All Natural Liver Biscotti Treats, Zuke's Natural Beef Jerky, Zuke's Natural Lamb Jerky, Zuke's Hip Action (a great treat for pets with arthritis or hip problems). For the really active dog, you may want to try Zuke's Power Bones.
- Reward Marker: A sound paired with the reward (motivator) that immediately signals to the dog the instant he does something good. The author recommends training new behaviors with an actual clicker because it is such an effective, attention getting sound. However, the reward marker does not have to be a clicker. It can be a one-syllable verbal marker such as the word "Yes!". "Some behaviorists theorize that it [the clicker sound] actually travels to a different part of the brain than a word does, which might explain its effectiveness. " We offer clickers for $1.00 and wrist coils for 75 cents each.
- Collar: Just a properly fitted plain buckle or snap collar. NO choke chains, pinch collars, or shock collars.
- Leash: A 6 foot cotton canvas or leather leash.