Dog obedience vs dog training

The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary defines obedience as obeying, submission, complying, submissive to superior’s will, dutiful. While we want our dogs to listen to us and follow our house rules, the real question is how we achieve this goal.

Using the definition of obedience, we would achieve our goals using training methods that require the dog to submit to our will because we (the human) are superior to them. Setting up a relationship of superior and submissive has a number of implications for the training approach we may take.

The training approach may cause us to:
  • label the dog’s motivations for not complying as dominant, stubborn, or getting back at you
  • blame the dog for not behaving the way we want,
  • focus on “stopping” undesirable behaviour, and
  • use training tools to control and force the dog to comply.

If we drop the idea of obedience, superior and submission from our thinking, then we start our dog training at a different place. In this place, you and your dog are now partners in your team. You both have a choice to participate in the training activity. As the handler in the team, you have the responsibility for creating an environment where your dog can be successful and therefore wants to continue playing the “training game” with you.

With this approach, our dogs choose to work with us and do so joyously because it is:
  • highly rewarding,
  • you are both having fun because you are succeeding, and
  • there is no compulsion or force.

At Teamwork Dogs, our goal is to help you and your dog to become a great team. We want to show you ways to set up your household and training spaces so your dog can be right. When the dog is right, then it is rewarding for you both, and your desire to work together snowballs.

At Teamwork Dogs, we offer group classes for puppies aged 10 – 24 weeks. We also offer foundation training for dogs from 6 months. For graduates of our Foundation course, Teamwork Dogs offers fun, social classes where dogs and their humans can continue having fun together. For dogs who may not be comfortable in a group class, we also offer our Yellow Ribbon course.

For more information about our courses please click here

Happy training!

Image by susanne906 from Pixabay