When it comes to training pitbulls using positive reinforcement one of the most popular methods is called clicker training.
Clicker training rests upon scientific learning principles that have been known since the 1930s.
These principles were made famous by dolphin trainer, biologist and author Karen Pryor which is also an author of many books on the practical use of operant conditioning such as clicker training.
Granted that it will not be a miracle cure that works overnight, you can be sure that with patience and time you can get great results.
Training Pit bulls with clicker training is used for both basic obedience such as the "sit", "down", "come" commands as well as more advanced obedience skills or for tricks.
According to Mr. Morten Egtvedt and Mrs. Cecilie Koste authors of the book
"Clickertraining, the 4 secrets of becoming a superstar" the first 3 core elements of this type of training should be:
1. Focus shall be kept on rewarding the correct behavior
Instead of correcting negative behaviors just reinforce the positives so that your pitbull will repeat the desired behavior more often.
Exemples, do not punish pulling the leash but reward loose leash. Do not punish when jumping on people instead reward beeing quiet.
2. The dog offers the behavior voluntarily.
When he sits, when he comes, when he lies down you need to be ready with your clicker. Remember dogs do these behaviors all the time anyway so why not taking advantage of them! You just have to be ready with the clicker.
3. Systematic use of a conditioned reinforcer
You need to use something that signals that the real reward is on its way.
Timing has to be perfect for exemple exactly when he touches the ground on the "sit" command.
Instead of a clicker you can use, bridgeword (such as the word "good"), praise, whistle, hand signal or anything that can be used as a conditioned reinforcer.
Some of the benefits of clicker training include:
- Work on reinforcing good behaviors instead of punishing bad behaviors
- you will work when your pit offers behavior voluntarily without luring
- your pitbull participates in his own free will
- with clicker training you can reinforce very precisely
I hope you liked this short introduction on training pitbulls with the clicker training method. Stay tuned for more articles about how to use this type of training.