Cynological service "LIS", St. Petersburg, Bolshoi pr VO, house 89

Trainer errors in dog training

In the process of training dogs, trainers make mistakes that delay and complicate training. Mistakes are especially common among beginners, poorly trained theoretically and practically inexperienced trainers. Experienced trainers may also make mistakes due to insufficient attention and lack of proper analysis of their actions during training. Every mistake, even insignificant at first glance, often leads to a decrease in the effectiveness of training, and sometimes to irreparable damage to the dog. Therefore, every trainer should know the main mistakes that are possible during training, their causes, consequences, preventive measures and corrections. Here are the most common mistakes. Subjective understanding of dog behavior. The gross mistake in training is the subjective understanding of the dog's behavior, "humanizing" it. Some trainers, especially those who are theoretically poorly trained, when training a dog, treat it as an animal, which is supposedly endowed, like a person, with the ability to think, consciously act, etc. In particular, by analogy with a person, they attribute to the dog the ability to understand human speech, the ability to be guided in their actions by various "impressions", "ideas", "desire" or "unwillingness", etc. Such a "humanization" of the dog leads to the fact that the trainer begins to make demands on the dog that are not feasible for her , there is a breakdown in the work of developing a skill and even damage to the dog. Here is one example. Let's say that a dog chases a cat while walking. The trainer calls the dog to him on the command “to me” and “punishes” it by hitting the leash. As a result, the dog, when the command “to me”, will start to run away from the trainer, since the trainer (“humanizing” the dog), believing that the dog understands what it is being punished for, connected the strikes with the leash not with the throw after the cat, but with the dog's execution of the command "to me". The conditioned stimulus of the command "to me" and the appearance of a leash in the hands of the trainer were reinforced in this case by an unconditioned pain stimulus. Consequently, the trainer made two mistakes: “humanized” the dog and misused the leash. For some novice trainers, especially for inexperienced amateurs, the “humanization” of the dog is also manifested in the fact that they accompany the command by talking with the dog. This, firstly, makes it difficult to develop conditioned reflexes to certain sound stimuli - commands, since the sounds of the command are mixed with other sounds (words), and, secondly, unnecessary words, like sound stimuli that are new for the dog, causing it to have an orientation reaction , slow down the execution of training techniques on command. The trainer should not “humanize” the dog, but by studying its behavior on a daily basis, find out the conditions that affect its behavior and violate the performance of techniques. Lack of an individual approach when training dogs. A big mistake in training is the lack of consideration of the behavioral features of the trained dogs, as a result of which the individual approach to dogs during training is ignored. At the same time, the same training method is applied to all trained dogs, regardless of the characteristics of their behavior, age, training level. For example, practicing the skill of submitting an object is carried out by a mechanical method of training, or only for taste stimulation, etc. These errors arise from a poor study of the behavior of a trained dog, insufficient instruction of young trainers. An individual approach with special training is especially important. It is impossible to apply the same training methods both to excitable, courageous and vicious dogs, and to calm, phlegmatic ones, since, having different temperaments and behaviors, they will react differently and perceive the same method of influence. Without an individual approach to dogs during training, it is not only impossible to achieve an effect in work, but it is possible to render the dogs completely unusable. Lack of the necessary consistency in working out training techniques and organizing training sessions. Often, trainers, in an effort to work out more skills in a short period of time, or rather to switch to special training, by all means, practice certain skills carelessly. This leads to the fact that the skills during training are not firmly fixed, persistent conditioned reflexes to commands and gestures are not developed, as a result, it turns out that the trainer is not able to control the dog's behavior in difficult conditions and to conduct further training successfully. One of the main provisions when practicing skills during training is the principle - "from simple to difficult." Skills should be practiced in a certain sequence, since practicing one makes it easier to work out the next, more difficult one. For example, without having worked out the "landing", you should not work out the "packing"; “Sampling of a thing” should be practiced after the filing of a thing, and one can proceed to tracking work only after a good fixation of “sampling of a thing by smell”. It is only after the dog has developed strong conditioned reflexes to the trainer's actions that one should proceed to the development of complicated skills during training, which facilitates the subsequent complication of skills. So, for example, the height of the barrier should be increased only after the dog has clearly passed the barrier of a lower height. When organizing and conducting training sessions, consider the strict sequence of introducing distractions. Classes conducted without taking into account environmental conditions lead to gross mistakes, especially this applies to the first sessions. If the first training sessions are carried out in an environment where there is a significant amount of distracting stimuli, this greatly complicates the rapidity of the development of the necessary conditioned reflexes to the trainer's signals. It is unacceptable to set the same tasks to the dog day after day. In this case, the trainer does not improve the work of the dog, but is content with the primitive execution of the signals, overlooking the necessity of constantly increasing the complexity of the work. Here are typical examples of such mistakes: during general training sessions, the trainer, bringing up endurance, always moves away to the same distance, and the dog is in the position of landing or laying for a short period of time (one or two minutes); when walking nearby, the trainer is limited to short distances (100 - 200 m). With these training methods, the dog will only be able to perform light tasks. This method is completely unacceptable in gut work. Laying tracks at the same distance (and a small one - 1 - 2 kilometers) in light conditions: on the trail of a short time ago (up to two hours) and a simple configuration, under favorable atmospheric conditions, etc., leads to the fact that the dog becomes efficient only in light conditions. The trainer must consistently and constantly complicate the training of the dog, improving its performance. When searching for a dog by instinct, it is possible to complicate the situation, as a rule, by introducing no more than one distraction, while facilitating, if necessary, other conditions. So, having planned the study of a long track, it is necessary to provide for a decrease in its length, eliminate various distractions, practice in calm weather, etc. Overtraining of the dog. Overtraining occurs as a result of overworking the nervous system due to excessively prolonged repetition of the same actions by the dog. The mistake of inexperienced trainers is their desire, by all means, to polish the service qualities of dogs as soon as possible, which often causes dogs to refuse to work. You can overtrain a dog at any reception, but most often when practicing overcoming obstacles, casting a voice, landing, laying down, serving abandoned objects, and arresting a runaway. Experienced trainers know that overly frequent training in the same technique negatively affects the training results. Therefore, for example, preparing for a competition, they give the dogs rest for 3 - 4 days before the competition. Rested dogs more clearly perform the skills they are used to. Having achieved from the dog a clear implementation of any skill, this day you should no longer engage in this technique. If the dog wants to develop a conditioned reflex to some command, it is not recommended to force it more than 2 - 3 times to perform the same action in order to keep the dog interested in it. To prevent mistakes (overtraining), it is necessary to clearly plan classes, alternate exercises, maintain a constant interest of the dog in the work. If the dog refuses to work as a result of overtraining, it is possible to recommend, as a method of correction, a break in classes for 2 - 3 weeks, with a gradual introduction of exercises after resting 2 - 3 times a week for several minutes (for 1 - 172 months).

Improper use of stimuli

The ill-considered use of stimuli is one of the most common mistakes. Wrong combination of conditioned and unconditioned stimuli. Novice trainers, when educating conditioned reflexes, often incorrectly use conditioned and unconditioned stimuli. As already mentioned above, during the training of a conditioned reflex, stimuli (commands, gestures) to which conditioned reflexes are developed must be reinforced by the action of unconditioned stimuli of a mechanical or food order. If the conditioned stimulus is used after the unconditioned one, then usually the conditioned reflex is not developed. For example, if the jerk of the leash when practicing the movement of the dog at the trainer's foot is applied before giving the command “near”, the conditioned reflex to the command “near” will not be developed. The same is observed when the dog develops conditioned reflexes to various gestures. For example, if the command "sit" is given before the corresponding gesture, then the conditioned reflex to the gesture is not developed. Novice trainers often make this mistake as a result of too much haste. Improper use of voice intonation. The wrong use of the intonation of the voice will also be a big mistake, for example, giving a command, always in the same intonation, without taking into account the behavior of the dog, abuse of giving a command in a threatening intonation, etc. As a result, the intonation of the voice in commands loses its meaning as an auxiliary stimulus that enhances the action of the command. To prevent this, the trainer must carefully observe the behavior of the dog and skillfully combine the intonation of the voice with a direct effect on the dog (an unconditioned stimulus). Incorrect use of the "fu" command. Inexperienced trainers often use the "fu" command for any reason. This leads to the fact that the dog stops responding to it. For a ban command to be effective, it should not be given often. Instead of the command "fu" in many cases, you can successfully give another command, for example: 1) during the practice of laying, the dog tries to stand up on its own; an inexperienced trainer uses the "fu" command in such cases. This is not true. It is necessary to pronounce the command of this technique with a threatening intonation. The same applies when the dog, sitting in front of an obstacle, takes off; 2) while working on the trail, the dog was distracted. In this case, the "fu" command can slow down the desire to search. Only the command "track" with a threatening intonation will be correct. With a control sample of things, inexperienced trainers, inadvertently, often confuse the desired object with another, and when the dog tries to take the required thing, they give a prohibition command. Such actions inhibit the dog's desire for correct selection. Similar mistakes are made when working out control trails, when the handler, having confused, tears the dog off the right direction. Such oversights spoil the dog. It is advisable to give the command "fu" only when the dog tries to grasp the food lying on the ground, when throwing at passers-by, animals and in other similar cases. Improper use of the command. Young trainers often have a bad habit of repeating the command several times when giving a command. Unbeknownst to himself, such a trainer instills in the dog the skill of performing a technique only after repeated commands. So, for example, the trainer gives the dog the command “to lie down”, but it does not perform the technique, being distracted by something, and the trainer does not associate the repeated command “to lie down” with compulsion. Such a method cannot educate the dog for reliability, accuracy in performing actions and attentiveness to commands. Inappropriate use of parfors! (strict collar). Many trainers are in the habit of constantly driving the dog on the parfors, forgetting that the use of the parfors is one of the extreme measures of coercion, combined necessarily with the appropriate command and intonation. Permanent sensations of parfors dull the dog's perception of it, and the role of parfors as a coercive factor is reduced. Abuse of dacha "delicacies". In the training of service dogs, treats are not the only means of rewarding the dog, and not always the most correct one. You should not give a treat for a long time during the training period when performing a skill. When, with the help of this unconditioned stimulus, a new conditioned reflex to the encouraging intonation is formed, the latter should be used more. Giving the dog treats, as well as food, should always be accompanied by encouraging intonation and the command "good". This develops an auxiliary conditioned reflex to intonation and accelerates the cessation of giving a treat that is already interfering with work. Collision of processes of excitation and inhibition. The collision of processes of excitation and inhibition of the same strength can cause a disorder of conditioned reflex activity in a dog, usually called a breakdown. While practicing "catching the runner", the trainer, wanting to perfect the skill so that the dog does not touch the calmly standing person, when the dog grabs the helper, gives the prohibition command "fu", accompanying it with sharp coercion, and then immediately sets the dog down again, giving the command "face". A sharp change in excitation and inhibition, especially in animals with weak and sedentary irritable and inhibitory processes, leads to disruption of their nervous activity. Giving a dog a difficult task of differentiating odors in a sample using strong means of coercion. On errors; abuse of endurance on a thrown object with a pronounced aspiration of the dog in the retrieval; giving impossible tasks to overcome obstacles and other similar mistakes unnerve the dog and can lead to a breakdown in the direction of excitation or inhibition of the dog's nervous activity, depending on the type. Underestimation of the importance of other stimuli. The environment in which the dogs are trained should be similar to that in which the dog will be used. However, there are still frequent cases when a trainer, for example, gives an assignment to a track plotter in front of a dog. At the end point, after working out the trail, the dog is immediately tied up, and the trainer and the assistant have a fun conversation, slapping each other on the shoulder. The assistant holds out a cigarette to the trainer, the dog growls, barks, regarding these gestures as an attack on its owner, but then the trainer's forbidding command sounds, and sometimes the leash jerks behind it. It has a negative effect on the dog, and when the trainer treats the helper discovered by the dog in a friendly manner, the detainee does not surrender to a third person, but lets go in front of the dog.Conversations, laughter, jokes during training, and setting the dog on his comrades are unacceptable. The lethargy, sluggishness of the trainers, giving the wrong commands and gestures, inept use of contrasting intonations, stinginess in rewards, inept leash control and other unnecessary stimuli inhibit the success of training. Unwanted connections in a trained dog. The most common consequence of the above errors of trainers is the appearance of so-called "unwanted connections" in dogs. An external indicator of erroneous behavior of the trainer is an unexpected change in the behavior of the dog. The dog begins to show any unwanted connection or completely refuses to execute commands or gestures, while showing too excited or, conversely, inhibited state. Unwanted connections are conditioned reflexes that have arisen in a dog apart from the desire of the trainer as a result of his mistakes. There can be many of them, like conditioned reflexes in general. Such undesirable connections for work are very harmful. The trainer must be able to prevent the formation of unwanted connections and know how to eliminate them.

The most common unwanted relationships are

Unwanted connections with a constant sequence of receptions. If the trainer for several days in a row during the lesson, having seated the dog, asks for a "voice" from it, then lay it down, and then sit it down, then for about 3 - 5 days, having heard the command "voice", the dog will give it, then sit down, then on its own , without a command, will lie down. If the trainer conducts each lesson with the dog in the same sequence, the dog will firmly consolidate a constant sequence of performing individual actions, that is, a "stereotype" is formed. Having heard the first command, the dog will begin to perform all actions in the same order, even regardless of the commands and gestures given in the future. Often there are trainers who, wishing to lay the dog down, must first give it the command to “sit” and then “lie down”, thus bringing up a connection for a certain order of actions. It is necessary to train the dogs and require them to execute commands in a different sequence. Laying from the "stand" position or forcing to crawl from the "stand" or "sit" position, it is necessary to pause (hold) between the techniques. This will polish the clarity of the execution of actions. There should be no place for a template in training. You cannot turn classes into a daily monotonous repetition of the same actions and in an invariably established sequence. Sometimes we have to observe how the trainer, calling the dog to him with the command "to me", does not lower his hand to the hip, but raises it to shoulder height. The same is true when receiving the styling - the sound command "to lie down" is accompanied by raising the hand, not lowering it. As a result, the dog often sits down, lies down or runs up to him, just seeing the handler raise his hand, without making an endurance. When learning to overcome obstacles, an undesirable connection arises for the obligatory jump at one approach to the barrier. Sometimes it is necessary to observe how the dog, at the command of the guide "forward", overcomes the barrier, then independently, due to the undesirable connection that has been brought up to the sequence of techniques, runs over a horizontal post, jumps over the fence, climbs the stairs, etc. When tracking work, it is usually always to the dog's collar a long leash is fastened, then they are seated in front of the starting point, and then the place is examined by the trainer; all this, repeated many times, brings up undesirable connections in the dog - by the time the dog is launched, the dog is in an excited state, which is harmful for tracking. To prevent the possibility of such undesirable connections, it is necessary to accustom the dog to endurance for 2 - 3 minutes before taking the obstacle (in the position of shrinking or laying), the sequence of actions should be changed. For example, the dog is waiting for the command "barrier", but the calm voice of the trainer "nearby" sounds, and the dog is taken for training in other ways. In the same way, it is necessary to eliminate the unwanted connection to the skill of climbing stairs and jumping back when overcoming an obstacle. After several such exercises, the unwanted conditioned reflex will fade away, and the dog will clearly fulfill the requirements of the command given to it. Skillful combination and alternation of the sequence of techniques, education of endurance in dogs will prevent the formation of these undesirable connections.

Unwanted connections to the situation

If a dog, when searching the same area of the terrain, constantly discovers a hidden assistant or hidden things on a tree, in a hole, or in other places, then, later, without making a search, it will start running up to familiar places. Undesirable links to landmarks also arise when constantly laying tracks in the same area or when laying tracks with an endpoint at a detached house, tree, bush, paths or roads. If the assistant constantly establishes the end point of the trail near a tree, bush or some other prominent shelter, the dog will certainly have an undesirable connection in the appearance of these objects. The sight of a tree or a bush will acquire the meaning of certain conditioned stimuli for the dog, and the dog will seek to look for a helper behind certain hiding places, without working out the trail. When laying tracks on virgin snow in winter, dogs associate olfactory stimuli (smells) with visual stimuli and after a few sessions, without sniffing at all, run along the footprints of the assistant. To prevent such an undesirable connection, it is necessary to conduct training on control trails in settlements at night in winter, more often practicing angular and fan sampling of traces. For dogs with persistent unwanted footprints, it is advisable to install short-term audit trails in areas where long-standing footprints and low-concentration odors are present. Exercising in such conditions will restore the ability to follow the trail with the help of instinct. Inexperienced trainers often force assistants, when laying control trails, to leave clearly visible conventional signs in the form of sticks stuck into the ground, flags, soil loosened by feet, etc. This also creates an unwanted connection to landmarks, the dog does not follow the trail, but along the visible landmarks. The best way to eliminate undesirable communications is to constantly change training areas, places of shelter for assistants, laying tracks in different directions, parallel and perpendicular to roads and footpaths.

Unwanted connections to teams

Some trainers have the bad habit of repeating the "trail" command frequently during work. With frequent repetition, the "trail" command essentially turns into a "forward" signal, even if the wanted scent is lost. When sampling things and a person, the frequent repetition of the command "sniff" serves as a signal to move along the spread of things or a standing group of people. The dog perceives this as "you can't take, go on." When letting the dog go to the sample, it is necessary to give the command once. The correctness of the sample should be reinforced with the command "good".

Unwanted connection to trainer behavior

When working out the corners on the test tracks, there is often an unwanted connection to slowing down the pace of movement of the trainer pulling the leash before turning. The dog at the slightest tension of the leash, without sniffing the track, turns to the side. To eliminate this, it is recommended, when approaching a corner, to provide the dog, as a rule, with the freedom to search and independently determine the direction of the track. It is useful when working out the trail between the corners from time to time to loosen, then tighten the leash, increasing and decreasing the pace of movement. It is also necessary to pay attention to the fact that the dog does not form an undesirable connection of the obligatory turn at the corner in one direction when working on the track. The shape of the angles (straight, obtuse, acute) and their direction (right, left) must be constantly changed in different versions.

Unwanted communication for the time of day

Classes at the same hours, as is often practiced, educate dogs in a conditioned reflex for a time: by the beginning of the usual exit to classes, even before the trainer appears, the dogs come into a fussy-excited state. To study the trail or search the area at an unusual time for them, they show less activity. To maintain a constant interest in the work in dogs, classes should be carried out at different times of the day.

Unwanted links when sampling

The reasons for frequently encountered undesirable relationships in all types of sampling are: the same sequence in the order of sampling or building a group of people; constancy of the shape of objects, place and the chosen assistant; loosening of the taut leash when the dog approaches the wanted person (thing); tense bending of the torso, and then straightening it with a relieved sigh with the correct result; snapping fingers, touching a foot, etc.

Unwanted connection on a training suit

It occurs if, for example, a helper acts on a dog in the same training suit. The dog develops a strong conditioned reflex to the sight of this costume, and it shows a defensive reaction to it. Therefore, it is necessary to frequently change the clothes of the assistants.

Unwanted connection to a permanent assistant

When one and the same person is involved as an assistant in laying tracks, sampling, searching the area, arousing anger in a dog, detention, escorting, then the dog establishes a connection with the smell, appearance, voice, figure of this particular person. The dog gets used to clearly differentiate the irritants of a given person, distinguishing them from other, similar irritants. In any environment, she looks for only a permanent assistant, and becomes unable to find other people. The trainer in all cases must carefully analyze the behavior of the dog, as well as his actions, correctly identifying the reasons for the change in the behavior of the dog. After making sure that the main reason for the change in the dog's behavior is the result of his mistakes, it is necessary to find and eliminate such mistakes. To restore the dog's usual behavior, it is advisable: 1) to change the environment of the activities in which the unwanted connection arose. This will exclude external stimuli that cause or contribute to the manifestation of an unwanted connection, 2) temporarily stop practicing with the dog according to certain methods, until the conditioned reflex to an unwanted connection is extinguished. These are the main ways to correct the results of erroneous actions. However, in each case, when applying one or another method of exposure, one should take into account the cause of the error and the peculiarities of the behavior of the trained dog. The main and main task of the trainer is to prevent erroneous actions. Therefore, each method of influencing the dog, planned by the trainer, must be carefully and comprehensively thought out by him and only after that, put into practice.


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