In the same way, dogs and humans have different learning styles, but all dogs respond to positive reinforcement.

 

Last week, I found myself in a fascinating conversation with IGNITE’s resident canine training and behavioral expert, Donna Chandler. Using my IGNITE subscription, reaching out to Donna was easy, convenient and highly-informative.

My question: Donna, do humans and canines learn in similar ways?

Drawing from her 30+ years of training experience and the virtual library on canine behavior and training books she has written, Donna sent me a treasure trove of information. I found out quickly how alike my dog and I are when it comes to learning situations.

Dogs and Humans have Unique Personalities

Donna writes:

“Like humans, dogs have different personalities, even when they come from the same parents. They are a product of their genetics and upbringing. Some people are active and independent, some are social and out-going. Some are loyal. Some are aloof. The same applies to dogs. Guardian dogs are described as loyal to their humans and aloof to strangers. Hunting dogs are social and energetic. Sledding dogs are active and independent. The list goes on.”

Dogs and Humans Love Food    

In the same way, dogs and humans have different learning styles, but all dogs respond to positive reinforcement.

Donna writes: “Dog’s learn 10x faster with food rewards. You and your dog wake up every morning thinking about breakfast and most likely what you are going to have for dinner. Food gives humans and dogs pleasure!”

Food is a strong motivator for both humans and dogs. Similar to the speed of which my pup learns when he knows he’s going to be rewarded, I get out of bed 10x sooner knowing I’ll get a coffee and scone reward on my drive into work! Dogs will learn a myriad of complicated tasks just because they know they’ll get the bacon bits you’ve got waiting for them in your pocket.

Dogs and Humans are Emotional

“Dogs and humans are deeply emotional creatures. Many studies have shown that dogs, like humans, feel complex emotions such as jealousy, anticipation, and can discriminate the expressions on faces.  Dogs are instinctive and intuitive animals that are thought to experience love, fear, anger and affection (which is called anthropomorphizing.)”

With that, Donna drives the point home and I realize - we choose to listen and learn for many reasons in life, but sometimes, it’s just the good old-fashioned thrill of approval that motivates dogs and humans to sit, stay, shake, and give kisses.

FOR MORE ON CANINE BEHAVIOR, TRAINING, OR TO SEND DONNA CHANDLER YOUR OWN QUESTIONS, CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR YOUR OWN SUBSCRIPTION AND TO SEE EVERYTHING OUR GAME-CHANGING LEARNING PLATFORM HAS TO OFFER YOU AND YOUR VETERINARY TEAM.

November 21, 2018