The Basics of Training


 

Training dogs is simple:


1. Reinforce desirable behaviors

2. Remove rewards and prevent opportunities for undesirable behaviors


We expect a lot out of our dogs on a daily basis. Many dogs were bred to work - hunt, shepherd, guard, etc -  and are being asked to wait at home all day while we work. They are expected to walk in straight lines with their heads up away from the ground. Using things the dog likes (food, toys, play), we can motivate our dogs to cooperate with us and we can fulfill their canine needs at the same time. This is the basis of positive, reinforcement-based training. 

Not Pack Animals


 

Scientific studies have shown that domesticated dogs are not pack animals. Dogs are certainly descended from wolves, but have domesticated over thousands of years. Free-ranging domesticated dogs do not hunt together in packs, do not form social groups, and tend to only gather if there is an available food source.


As a result, using dominance and "leader of the pack" style methods to train dogs just doesn't make sense and can actually cause significant emotional side effects that can take years to overcome.

An Alliance


Local area trainers have joined together in the interest of creating better lifestyles for dogs in the Charlotte area. We plan to spread the word that there is a better way to train your dog that does not involve leash jerks, prong or shock collars, or dominance style techniques.




F.A.C.T. = Force-Free Alliance of Charlotte Trainers

The F.A.C.T.s about Dogs


Reinforcement vs Punishment


Force-based, punishement techniques such as leash jerks, prong/shock/choke collars, alpha rolls, etc. not only cause pain and discomfort, but also only suppress behavior and don't eliminate the cause of it. The dog then stores up energy and frustration. As a result, these techniques can actually inhibit learning and even have serious, long lasting side effects such ​as depression, self-mutilation, increased aggression, and aggression towards the punisher.


Reinforcement based training, on the other hand, identifies the cause of the undesirable behavior, modifies the environment, and changes the dog's motivation. The dog is properly guided, relieved of pent up stress and anxiety, and rewarded for correct choices.