What is an example of using compulsion training as it applies to dog behavior?

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A good example is the electric shock collar that the dog must wear when there’s an invisible fence. As soon as the dog starts to wander out of the boundary, the dog gets a shock. Therefore, the dog makes the association that when she walks in a particular area, she’ll get a shock.

Another example is the choke collar, which is not used very often by trainers, but is used by some owners. When on a walk, if the dog starts to pull or tries to get out of the “heel” position, a quick tug is given. The dog will eventually stop pulling.

However, even though advocates insist compulsion training doesn’t involve hitting or any other acts of abuse, it has received some very negative publicity—and some breeds are simply too sensitive to respond positively to it, becoming anxious and fearful.

If you see that, you may want to switch to another form, such as “Reward Training,” which uses positive reinforcement to induce a companion animal to “please her owner” by performing the correct behavior. Rewards can include profuse praise, touching, playtime, special treats and clickers.

This type of training works well with breeds that are quick learners with strong desire to please, such as golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, cocker spaniels, and Doberman pinschers. It is also a good method for toy breeds that might react timidly to stronger methods of training. When changing from compulsion training to reward training, you must restore the spirit of “fun” in the training to ensure that the dog looks forward to the training session.

Some use a combination of training methods because there are times when a sensitive dog can be the one that tests your authority. In this case, compulsion training can be used for specific tasks and reward training for more general obedience.

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