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Hi everyone,
I'm new to the forum and will soon be new to Doberman ownership as I am hoping to purchase a puppy in about 6 months time.

I was just looking for opinions on training methods. I've heard of clicker training and traditional training and was wondering which one is better/more successful. Any personal experiences or opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Also... I'm interested in doing agility with my dobe once he/she is old enough. How do you work these training methods in with agility training? Is it possible to use clicker training to train for agility?

And what is the general attitude towards food rewards? Is it better to train with treats or is using verbal praise a better method?

I know it's a while away yet, but in my opinion it's never too early to do some research. Better to be over-prepared than under-prepared! :nicejob:
 

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My guess is the overwhelming majority of replies will be in favor of R+, clicks and treats.

I however, train with a more balanced approach of praise and corrections. I don't ignore bad behavior, I correct it and redirect it towards something that can be praised. On the matter of praise I don't use treats. I use talk and touch - two things, God willing, I'll always have at my disposal. The exception to this is trick training but basic obedience is treat free with me.

Good on you for doing your homework before you even bring a dog home. Too may people wait until things are going awry.
 

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Positive training is always better than "traditional" training for most circumstances, IMO. It doesn't mean that the dog gets away with murder, though. You reward the behavior you want, and discourage (not ignore) the behavior you don't want by redirecting. Rewards don't mean just food, either. Praise, petting, food, play, and toys are all forms of reward that can be utilized.

Clicker (aka marker) training can be used in pretty much any discipline. You don't have to use an actual clicker. As a matter of fact, half the time I can't find mine, so the marker of "yes" is just as rewarding to my dogs as a click. The advantage a clicker gives is that it is the same each time, and it's usually faster to click than to say a marker word.

Finding a good puppy agility foundations class would be a good idea if you are serious about doing agility.

Several of us seem like we are turning into walking advertisements for this place, but the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy is great for teaching positive training methods in a variety of sports. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - About us
 
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Positive has been proven, and is utilized in sports, to be more effective at teaching new behaviors.

The argument for balance is one that comes up during extinction of problem behaviors and for proofing.

There are plenty, and I mean plenty, of dogs trained both ways in agility. And that are doing well in the sports as well! I tend to prefer only using aversive training as a last resort, but don't begrudge people who use balanced training properly. Not long ago I was more balanced, and I don't have toooooo much moral issue going back to that (but would prefer not to).

That said... you're going to have a very young puppy, and they need POSITIVE experiences at that age. Especially with the breed as sensitive as it is, you want your puppy to associate you with positive things and rewards long before you do anything else.
 
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That said... you're going to have a very young puppy, and they need POSITIVE experiences at that age. Especially with the breed as sensitive as it is, you want your puppy to associate you with positive things and rewards long before you do anything else.
This is a great point. I wouldn't advocate "correcting" a young puppy, "interrupting" is a much better way to go. As mentioned, building trust and a bond is critical. A good relationship really is the best training tool you can possess!
 

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I use nothing but positive reward for the first 6 months. With the right temperament I would use Ne-Po-Po for pups from 4 months on. I generally use only positive reward when teaching any new exercise. After 6-8 months and/or the dog can demonstrate they know the exercise/command, then corrections are introduced with increasing levels of distraction. Rewards include food, praise/physical touch, and prey rewards (tugs).

We have 3 phases of training in our system:

1. teaching/showing...positive reward only

2. securing.. distractions are added, as well as corrections

3. Proofing, continued securing with distractions and balanced training efforts.


Corrections must be done above the dogs threshold. An "attempt" at a correction below a dogs threshold only stimulates the dog and WORSENS behavior. This is where a great number of people attempting to train their dog fall short.
 
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