Creating The Want in UK dog training


The Dog in the above video has “A Want ” she has a drive for the toy and she performs for the reward no conflict no force  no shouting she does it because she wants the reward on offer

“Creating a Want” by Andy Coates


There are only two ways to train a dog I know (with various systems)


These are with compulsion or by positive reinforcement both these ways work on Thorndikes law of effect.


Thorndikes law of effect basically states that “responses that produce a satisfying effect in a particular situation become more likely to occur again in that situation, and responses that produce a discomforting effect become less likely to occur again in that situation.”  In other words if your dog learns that their actions carry consequences both good and bad



Compulsion training sometimes called avoidance training is the old method of training it still works but is unreliable and unnecessary with most dogs in my opinion. An example of compulsion training would be imagine a dog pulled on a lead. If you fitted a check chain around a dogs neck and gave it a correction (a jerk) every time the dog pulled the dog would learn not to pull if it wanted to avoid the correction.



Positive Reinforcement


Positive reinforcement is the modern system of training and is more reliable with most dogs. An example would be if a dog learns that every time they sit when given a command or cue they get a reward (like food, a game with a toy or a treat). then the dog would learn if they repeat this they get “The Want”.


We therefore show them what to do using various techniques and when they display the behaviour we want we reward it.


The Problem

Most clients that come to me will say something like my dog will sit for a treat in the house but not when there is a distraction like being in the park or the town so the positive bit only works when there is no distraction.


There could be a number of reasons why this happened and would be depended on many factor for example the dog has an issue with something that’s distracting it for example a phobia about something or it may be very nervous . These would be issues that would need addressing before proceeding to train the dog.


The most common reason is that the dog does not have “A Want “or desire for what your offering.


For instance your dog may be a well fed dog that gets his or her food twice a day in a bowl and gets more than sufficient for their needs.


Therefore when you offer them a low value treat like a dog biscuit as a reward for coming back in the presence of distractions they don’t come back .


This is because your dog thinks “that food your offering  fine but when I get home there will be a big bowl of food waiting for me and this smell or the presence of this other dog is more interesting”


The Answer

The answer is to “Create a want”


Build the dog’s drive !!! Ideally both play drive and food drive if that’s possible with your dog.


For play drive I would remove all the dogs toys except for a Kong or chew toy which can be left for the dog when you are not interacting with them or your out.


The interactive toys balls, tug toys etc are for human and do interaction not for anything else if you remove them and use play as a reward the game and the reward become more valued and you start to create “The Want” this is a want for play. The games you play should be carefully chosen so they train as well as reward and amuse your dog. Your trainer will demonstrate and teach you theses games


For food drive I would put up the dogs entire food up for the day in the morning  remove about a quarter of it and replace that with high value treats like chicken, hot dogs or cheese. I would then use the food (varying the quantity and variety) throughout the day to reward your dog for doing obedience exercises and games.


This again starts to create “The Want” a want for food . The games you play and obedience exercises should be carefully chosen so they train as well as reward and amuse your dog. Your trainer will demonstrate and teach you these games.


At Black Banks Kennels Darlington we provide a complete dog training and pet behaviour service both on a one to one basis and on a residential training basis. We train dogs from County Durham and Teesside, Middlesbrough area as well as Tyneside Newcastle and across the UK








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