Vanessa grew up surrounded by traditional dog training methods, which she adopted and employed herself. She never knew there was any other way to train a dog until she was introduced to Operant Conditioning and clicker training during University. This new knowledge opened her eyes to an entirely new side of dog training.
Science has proven that animals are more likely to learn and repeat actions (behaviors) that result in consequences it desires and enjoys. This is the basis of positive reinforcement training; by pairing desired consequences, or reinforcers, with behaviors we want from the dog, these behaviors are more likely to be repeated. Ignoring undesirable behavior will result in that behaviors eventual extinction.
Why don't we use punishment?
Punishment stops an ongoing behavior without a predictable future income – it does not produce a predictable future behavior from your dog. Punishment can create a change in behavior, but it doesn’t produce learning by the dog. Punishment has actually been proven to interfere with learning, even when it is mixed with positive reinforcement techniques. Instead, using positive reinforcement, we teach our dogs what behavior is acceptable by reinforcing that desirable behavior.
Marker training is positive reinforcement training that employs the use of a “marker” signal to allow us to communicate more effectively with our dog. With marker training we are able to communicate precisely which actions (behaviors) from our dog will earn reinforcement by using a consistent sound to “mark” behaviors and events that we like. A marker can be the use of a clicker or a precisely timed verbal marker, such as “yes.”
“The clicker informs the animal that his movement met the trainer’s current criterion, that is, his behavior was enough to earn reinforcement.” – Kathy Sdao
Using a marker permits us to communicate with our dogs in black and white, and eliminate any shades of grey or confusion for the dog. You’ll achieve a lifelong way of communicating and teaching your dog – your dog will understand you and you’ll understand your dog.
This type of training produces creativity and initiative within your dog. It forgives our mistakes as a handler – if you make a mistake (i.e. click or “mark” at the wrong time) the worst thing that will happen to your dog is that he will get his reinforcement for free!
The training we offer at Sit Pretty Pet Services is scientifically proven to be effective and provide lasting results. We do not offer “quick fixes” and employ no punishment based methods in our training programs. Our philosophy is that innovative, positive training combined with behavior management is the most effective way to shape a dog that you and your family can love and enjoy.
Through our training classes and programs we will teach you how best to manage your dog’s daily environment, to reduce problem behaviors, how to redirect your dog when it is performing undesirable behaviors, and provide you with the knowledge and skills to teach your dog what behaviors you find acceptable.