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Use SCIENCE and FEELING to maximize the effectiveness of your dog training

The best dog training is based on science and rich with feeling.

Unfortunately, a lot of people base their dog training on the wrong science, and they ignore the importance and value of their feelings when they are training their dog. Or worse, they let their feelings guide them towards training methods that are ineffective or even counterproductive.

To use science effectively, you should make sure you observe and measure your dog's behavior over time. This is the only way to be sure that your training is actually working! If your dog's behavior gets better over time, as evidenced by the measurements you take, then your training is working.

Unfortunately, a lot of people ignore this core principle and instead take inspiration from laboratory research on the science of learning and behavior. The findings from this research are valid, but they rarely translate to the real world, which is very different from the laboratory environment.

Aversive punishments can be very effective in the laboratory, but not so much in the home environment. In the lab, food pellets are the main form of rewards, because they are easy for machines to provide in a consistent way, and while food is still very valuable when training a pet dog, there are other tools available to us, as humans, that are incredibly valuable, and often neglected.

Your body language and your voice are an easy way to provide your dog with instant feedback about how you feel about what they are doing, and this is one of the most valuable ways to modify your dog's behavior.

A clicker can be useful for some very specific training purposes, but your voice is capable of providing much more information, just as quickly and much more conveniently.

If you would like to learn more about how to use science and feeling to make your dog training even more effective, you should sign up for a free one-month trial of the Top Dog Academy and watch our Science vs. Feeling in Dog Training webinar, or our Science-Based Dog Training (with Feeling) seminar serie.

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