Today’s dog leads a life within human-made laws and regulations. So that he quickly understands and adheres to these rules that do not always correspond to his nature, we have to find a way to translate human desires into “dog language”. You can not buy all aids for this and not all aids that can be bought are really recommendable. But many facilitate communication between humans and dogs and thus also promote the bond between the two. Very important: Not a single aid, no matter how well thought out, can replace what we have to give the dog as a gift: reliability and consistency.
The two most effective helpers, which are always available and do not cost a penny, are your voice and body language – provided they are used correctly and, above all, coherently. If your body signals “Stop” and you whisper “Here” at the same time, you are bringing the dog into a conflict that it cannot resolve. He will choose what is more demonstrative for him. And that differs from dog to dog.
The basic rules for using the voice are simple:
So it’s very simple: speak in a soft, quiet, high-pitched voice when we want to motivate or praise the dog. And speak more sharply, a little louder and in a deep voice when we rebuke him or want to forbid him to do something.
Advantage: Your voice is unique and unmistakable for the recipient
Disadvantage: Your emotions can usually also be heard in the voice, which can unsettle the dog
The rules for body language are similarly simple:
In short: the more you have your body and your facial expressions under control, the more clearly your wishes will reach the dog.
Advantage: body language and gestures are easily recognizable for the dog even at a distance
Disadvantage: Inadequate gestures and posture can be misunderstood by the dog
The clicker, the small cracking instrument that can be worn on the wrist and operated with one finger, is absolutely neutral and helpful. With every click, the clicker tells the dog that he is on the right track. He praises and rewards without words and gestures, even if the dog is a few steps away. This saves you from praising and rewarding after every little real exercise, from interrupting an exercise because you have to bend down to stroke or give the student a reward. When used correctly, the clicker encourages the dog to perform at its best and also enables it to offer services on its own initiative. And: The lack of the longed-for click is not frustrating like the pronounced disappointed “wrong” or “not so”. It just tells the dog that he needs to do something else. Both humans and dogs have to learn the clicker. One to two weeks should be praised with “Fine” at the click and a treat should be given at the same time. Then the click alternately replaces the praise or the reward. And finally there is only the crack and only after a while or after a lot of exercises the human jubilation and the reward to top it off.
Advantage: The clicker is neutral and can be used at the same time as an action
Disadvantage: Where many people click at the same time, this can unsettle the dog
The pipe can, if played with virtuosity, replace many words. There are whistles in the ultrasonic range, audible only to the dog, and with different trills, each of which can be given a different meaning. The pipe has a longer range than our voice and does not reveal anger or joy. Before it can be used, however, the dog must learn the meaning of the trills. This is not difficult, dogs quickly learn that a “come here” that sounds in sync with a welcome (make you small, arms open invitingly) and a certain whistle has the same meaning. So you will soon be able to do without the voice and the squats.
Advantage: The whistle is clear, short and emotionless and therefore often more effective than a call
Disadvantage: a conditioned dog listens to every whistle set in the same way
Dog training is also possible without the small rewards, but a bite after prompt follow-up encourages every dog in its will to learn. The delicacies can be easily stored in the belt pouch and are then always ready. However, they are not safe, because they involve a lot of risks:
Advantage: The delicacy in hand always arouses attention and motivation
Disadvantage: Many dogs vigorously demand the treats after every exercise
It is actually a mixture of delicacies and retrieving toys. The bag can be closed and is filled with delicacies. The dog is allowed to “hunt” him after completing his tasks, has to bring him back and then gets his reward from the opened bag. With a dog that has understood the principle, the sight of the bag is quickly enough to fully concentrate and greedily wait for tasks that will bring him closer to the coveted contents of the bag. The risk: Without a bag of hope, the desire to learn sometimes wanes. So you should always have it with you.
Advantage: The common “work of the search for prey” corresponds to the dog being
Disadvantage: Without the food bag, many dogs forget their motivation and no longer work with them
Collar or harness are first and foremost the connection between the dog and the leash. They have a direct effect on the dog’s body and are mostly used as educational aids to prevent undesirable behavior. Even the normal soft collar acts on the larynx when the dog tugs on a leash. A dog in the harness is also stopped when it has reached the range of the leash. There are plenty of special collars and harnesses for “incorrigible” leash draggers or people whose other attempts at upbringing have remained fruitless.
Advantage: Educational harnesses can be effective in “hopeless” cases
Disadvantage: If used incorrectly, Halti and Co. are counterproductive and unsettle the dog
The leash enables the owner to act directly on his dog. It initially serves as a means of keeping the dog in close proximity to its human. Later, it gives people security in precarious situations such as heavy traffic. A two-meter leash that can be shortened several times is ideal as an educational tool. The pull-out leashes are unsuitable as a training aid, but in cities where the leash is required, they are at least a way to give the dog a larger radius. For four-legged friends who storm away – without a leash – and forget their entire upbringing at the scent trail of a hare or the sight of a deer, the drag line is ideal. Used correctly, it teaches the dog that it will be stopped abruptly as if by magic if it does not turn back on the master’s / wife’s call. There are tow lines in different lengths. The longer they are, the greater the risk that dog and leash will get tangled in the undergrowth, which is why drag lines are more useful in open terrain. However, walking off the leash does not always prevent the dog from relapsing.
Advantage: The tow line gives notorious “hunters” limited, safe freedom of movement
Disadvantage: Many dogs lead people on a leash instead of the other way around and thus lose respect
All dogs who like to hunt, pull, test their strength or are always ready to play can be motivated quickly with a ball or another dummy. Often it is enough just to pick up the toy to let it rush to the person from any situation. With the toy in sight or in the nose, they are ready for super performances – searching, retrieving, taking hurdles, catching frisbees or doing basic obedience exercises. If the “booty” is only available at the end of a work unit, the risk of addiction is reduced, because ball junkies do not learn: all their efforts are only focused on the ball. Toys are often used in teaching hunting and service dogs and relieve the tension that has built up during the required performance. Used correctly, they will satisfy workaholics and tireless dogs in particular.
Advantage: With spirited dogs, the toy replaces the delicacy
Disadvantage: The risk of becoming addicted to the toy increases with the frequency of use
The slim rod with a rubber or plastic head is nothing more than an extended arm of the human being. It works especially well with small dogs. The dog is always rewarded when he nudges the target’s head with his nose. As a result, he can be steered, quickly learns to walk figures or to control obstacles or drive balls in dog sports. Targets are short-term aids that can soon be replaced by the outstretched human arm.
Advantage: Dogs quickly grasp the target stick and are easy to steer with it
Disadvantage: Without praise at the same time, the target loses its appeal