I want to share my thoughts with you from my years of experience, about dog breeds and training.
I will focus on a couple of popular dog breeds, but it is important remember that the mechanics of clicker training, not only applies to dogs, but to the whole animal kingdom to achieve the desired behaviours within their capabilities.
Many zookeepers nowadays use clicker training to train their animals to allow blood taking, checking their teeth, and moving them from one pen to another. It is a kind and force free way to communicate with them and to achieve what is asked of them in terms of training. You may have seen these zookeepers with a stick and a ball at the end, which is called a target stick, which is also used in dog training.
As far as dogs are concerned, specific breeds have got specific traits that trainers must take into account before starting training, so it is always important for a dog trainer to research a breed if they are not familiar with it.
A good example of specific traits are the dogs which you will have seen in airports and are used by the customs and excise teams. These are very often Spaniels and police dogs are very often German Shepherds. Why? Because Spaniels are generally very good sniffers and because German Shepherd are good defence/attack dogs. The same goes for guide dogs. Have you ever seen a basset hound as a guide dog? No! Why? Because on the scale of trainability or reliability, let’s face it, whilst the results would be entertaining, wouldn’t work.
Training Cocker Spaniels
So, let’s look at the Cocker Spaniel. This breed is very close to my heart, as my first dog as an adult was, indeed, an English Cocker Spaniel. At the time, I wasn’t a dog trainer and I didn’t understand dogs, as well as I do today. I did plenty of things I would now do differently, such as taking him to training to teach him manners; and however, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Despite this, he was a very smart little cookie, beautiful, and extremely sociable to people and other dogs.
Cocker Spaniels are easy to train and have quite a high energy drive that you want channelled in the right way. These guys are very intelligent, so keeping them mentally and physically stimulated, is a must; otherwise, they will find a way to amuse themselves, which might not be to your liking as a human parent. Throughout the years, I have worked with quite a few, as they are a very popular breed, and they are a pleasure to train.
Beagle Dog Training
Another great breed of dogs is the Beagle. Beautiful looking dogs, from the ‘hounds’ group. Still being used nowadays for their working ability, but also increasingly popular as a pet. They can be quite vocal. They have a very strong sense of smell and couldn’t be happier than following a scent. It is important to channel their sense of smell in the right way in order to avoid problems as they mature. They can be strong willed at times and that is why, training from an early age is essential to get reliable behaviours, one of the most important ones, being ‘recall’. The most famous Beagle we all know is most likely the cartoon character Snoopy.
In conclusion, whether it is a Beagle, a Cocker Spaniel or any other breed you will have the pleasure of welcoming into your life, make sure you do your research to ensure that he/she suits your lifestyle and make sure that you train him/her with reward based, force free methods.
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