You’ve all heard the saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, Teach a man to fish and feed him for a liftetime.”
This saying holds true for training animals and understanding pets. Instead of just memorizing techniques, people have shown it’s essential to understand learning principles which you can apply to many situations. That way you can come up with solutions to situations that are new to you and your dog and can also better determine which techniques may be more appropriate.
One new puppy owner, a reader of the Art and Science of Animal Behavior blog illustrates this point perfectly. Says, Anneliese Sarsen,
We recently picked up our puppy at 7 weeks. After having him home a few days we decided we’d like to keep track of how much he weighs. Recalling your video of teaching a dog to put his feet in the box, we wondered if we could teach the puppy to get on the scale. We started marking with a “Yes” and treating him for touching the scale and progressed from there. Within five minutes he was sitting perfectly on the scale. He’s 10 weeks now and still able to do this consistently. We’re collecting weekly pictures of him sitting on the scale and we will be able to put together a cute collage. What a fun and easy way to track how our puppy is growing!