It has been scientifically proven that you have 1.3 seconds to influence a dog's behavior. That means we have 1.3 seconds to reward a behavior we want repeated and we have 1.3 seconds to correct a behavior we don't want repeated. So if we don't reward or correct in 1.3 seconds the dog will never be able to make that connection.
Motivation can be positive as well as negative. It is also the key to get your dog to perform the expected behavior. There are four different ways to motivate a dog during training. You can motivate your dog with a toy, with food, with praise, or with correction. A good trainer knows how to use the method that is best for each individual dog. Trainers who limit themselves to using only one method are setting the dog up for failure. Most large pet stores that offer training will only use positive training. Yet training becomes ineffective if the dog does not have the appropriate drive for the reward that is being offered. A trainer who only uses correction can get a dog to do anything, but as a result the dog will be fearful and nervous around the handler.
Each dog is an individual and the training needs to be adjusted for each dog. At Mountain State K9 Academy we have encountered dogs that have had zero food or toy drive and simply don't care about praise. How do you get someone to work for you if you have nothing to offer them? Your only choice is to make them do what you want by using correction. We have also worked with dogs that had no interest in edible treats, but would do just about anything for a tennis ball. Finding out what makes an individual dog perform is what is going to set you and your dog up for success.
When it comes to using collars as a form of correction there are four different types to choose from: the flat collar, choke collar, pinch or prong collar, and the e-collar. A study was conducted on over 200 different dogs to determine which collar was the safest and which was the most effective. At the top was the e-collar, second the pinch collar, third the flat collar and last was the choke collar. We recommend using the prong collar and the e-collar.
A correction from an e-collar is like being handed a speeding ticket. If you are speeding and a police officer pulls you over and proceeds to write you a ticket for twenty-five cents, you would probably think nothing of it and continue to speed away. If the same officer pulls you over and writes a ticket for $500,000, you probably would never want to drive again. If he pulls you over and writes you one for $150, it's an appropriate fine that will deter you from speeding again without making you fear driving. With dogs, you need to find out how much they can afford so you know exactly how much of a fine to charge them. You'll learn that some dogs need a $5 speeding ticket (level 5 on E-collar) and some will need a $90 speeding ticket (level 90 on the E-Collar). Learning the dog's correction level is going to speed up the learning process and will ensure a happy dog.
Consistency is the hardest principle for most people to follow, yet it's also the most important. You can have a trainer who has perfect timing and perfect use of motivation, but if he is inconsistent, then the dog simply will not know what his trainer expects or what he will do next — this makes dogs nervous. Does the trainer want the dog to sit on the first command or the second command? Does the trainer want the dog to sit when he drags out the word, "Siiitt"? Or maybe the dog thinks the trainer wants it to sit when he yells the command "SIT!" In the end you want the dog to sit the first time you give the command. You can only achieve this by being consistent.