A lot of people want to know what the difference is between positive reinforcement training (PRT) and using dominance training (DT).
It is important when choosing a trainer to know what to expect. A positive reinforcement trainer uses positive stimuli ( treats, toys, affection) to elicit a positive result.
The positives: This is a great way to get results. The dog learns behaviors at their own pace without breaking their spirit. The dog really thinks about the behaviors and emits behaviors because they want to, because the feeling of doing a behavior you ask is more positive or rewarding then disobeying or refusing . Dogs love attention and giving dogs attention for desired behaviors and ignoring behaviors that are undesired is the main principle in positive reinforcement training.
Negatives: people call PRT “cookie cutter” or “treat obsessed”. PRT does take longer for desired results than DT.
Dominance training: DT uses force or negative stimuli to get results. To avoid punishment the dog through trail and error emits the desired behavior.
Positives: quicker results. Dogs most likely do not exhibit the undesired behavior do to avoiding punishment .
Negatives: using force and scare tactics can break the dogs spirit.
Owners differ and the way they prefer to train, in turn, are different. Here is an example of a trained behavior and how each training technique gets results.
ie: dog jumping up.
PRT- if the dog is jumping up the trainer will either ignore the behavior by turning your back the second the dog stops jumping reinforce that behavior. Over time the undesired behavior subsides and the problem is solved . Or the trainer redirects and if the dog has had basic obedience training, simply ask the dog as he is running up to sit before he jumps and reinforce that behavior. Eventually the dog will sit when you return do to all the reinforcement they received for sitting.
DT- if the dog is jumping the trainer might knee the dog in the chest when he jumps up. To avoid being kneed the dog stops jumping.
Both techniques work but it depends on how you, as the owner, prefer to train the dog.
A lot needs to come into play when finding a trainer. A good trainer will observe your dog, ask about their past, observe their environment and understand why the dog might be emitting undesired behaviors. A poor trainer can misuse either of these techniques resulting in no or worst results.
So bottom line is : check credentials, ask the trainer what training method they prefer and why.