Avoidance Training M-5

Written By: Jim russell - Sep• 02•13

Tactical dog training continues with this portion of my military K9 instruction. In avoidance training, a dog learns not to make a wrong response to avoid a vocal or physical correction. A continuous reward schedule is followed in avoidance training. That is, every time the dog makes an undesired response, it receives one correction.

a. “NO” is the only word used as a verbal reprimand. When given in a loud, firm tone of voice, it serves to prevent the dog from repeating the incorrect act. I find many people who train their dog often lose concentration and yell out the dogs name or yell the word “NO” several times, this is not proper training technique. One word and one time, “NO”. You need to follow and commit to what is written here if you want to be a complete trainer. Vocal correction alone must be used initially to determine if it will prohibit undesirable behavior. Often this will be enough and you will never have to physically correct your dog. If vocal correction does not control such behavior, vocal and physical correction must be given at the same time for each incorrect response.

b. A sudden jerk on the leash is the only physical correction used in training. The dog’s sensitivity to pressure is so keen that once it learns to associate a leash jerk with a reprimand, only mild pressure need be applied.

c. Pairing vocal and physical correction will, after a number of trials, allow the dog to learn how to avoid making an incorrect response, thereby avoiding the vocal or physical correction. The dog determines for itself how severe vocal and physical corrections are. It may be more severe than you judge it to be. When vocal and physical corrections are first applied, start with a low vocal and low physical correction level. Increase the vocal and physical correction levels gradually when the dog continues to make wrong responses. The dog’s behavior determines the level of correction required for you to control its behavior. Vocal and physical correction are given with a sudden quick onset. Never give it slowly. Vocal and physical correction are given only during the time the dog is in the process of making an incorrect response. Correction at any other time does not provide the dog enough learning cues. More than one correction per one incorrect response by the dog is punishment. Punishment does not allow the dog to learn efficiently. Improper application of avoidance training degrades the value of the vocal and petting praise used as a reward in reward training.

The master principals of dog training- Once a trainer has an understanding of the following, they will have mastery over any dog. We as military trainers used this information to mold the most powerful K-9 force on the planet.

A dogs basic needs:

Dogs respond to the environment to satisfy their bodily and social needs. Needs that can be controlled by the dog handler are used to teach dogs to do desired tasks. The needs that cannot be controlled by the dog handler interfere with training or task performance after training.

(1) Breathing. Breathing is perhaps the strongest drive. An increased need for oxygen after physical exercise induces panting; this may hinder the dog in performing olfactory tasks.

(2) Water. Water must be given to the dog in adequate supply to prevent thirst from interfering with task performance.

(3) Food. Food must be given in adequate supply to prevent hunger from interfering with task performance. Food can also be used as a reward to train a dog to do a specialized task and to maintain desired behavior.

(4) Social needs. A period of socialization between dog and handler is required so that vocal and petting praise will have reward value to the dog.

(5) pain. Minimizing pain is a basic need of the dog.

Basic senses:

a. Sight. The dog learns to attend to or ignore visual cues in the environment. Cues such as brightness, shape, size, and motion give the dog needed information to learn required tasks.

b. Hearing. Loudness, direction, and distance give the dog information about a detected sound. Changes in loudness, movement of sound source, and sound wave complexity are additional cues the dog uses as information about the sound source.

c. Smell. The dog can identify one odor from another. The concentration of an odor gives information about the source of the odor.

d. Pressure. Specialized hairs on the dog give it the capability to detect small changes in air flow and wind direction. The dog can also detect differences in the amount of pressure used during physical praise and physical correction.

e. Body Position and Movements. Receptors in the muscles. tendons, ligaments, and joints of the dog give information about its body position and body movements.

f. Pain. The dog can detect different levels of pain. The other basic senses are used to alert the dog to the impending onset of pain enabling the dog to avoid pain. This is the method used to maintain control 0f the dog, by using vocal correction.

g. Temperature. The dog can detect hot and cold temperatures. Sudden or extreme changes in temperature inhibit learning during initial training or in subsequent task performance.

h. Taste. The dog’s sense of taste is important if food is used as a reward. The dog uses this sense to show one food preference over another.

i. Equilibrium. The dog’s sense of balance keeps it in an upright position. The dog learns to ignore this sensory input to do certain tasks such as rolling over.

j. Vibration. The dog can detect vibrations by its vibratory sense. Gradual exposure to an environment including vibratory information allows the dog to ignore this information.

k. Internal Receptors. Internal receptors tell the dog when it is hungry or thirsty. This sensory system also tells the dog when it needs to eliminate.

Once you have a grasp on what the needs of the dog are, and how the dog uses its senses to view its immediate environment, you as its handler will be able to control the dogs world and become the alpha of the pack.

Next we begin basic obedience, Tactical dog training style.








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