Education vs. Training

Publicado el 19 de March de 2015

In some cases, dogs that compete in complex training disciplines with a high level of results are extremely awkward companions, it being very difficult to live with them, which relegates them to a life in kennels or other spaces outside the nuclear family. Why is this? Why would a dog that gets very high scores in complex obedience exercises not be well integrated into the social group in harmony? It is certainly true that in many of these individuals, a strong character and a very high level of activity is selected that make their management more complex.

But this, which is a good reason why these dogs give problems to novice owners, should not justify the fact that expert trainers who know, seek and prepare these dogs are not achieving normal coexistence for them.

The main reason for this situation is the confusion between learning and education, training typically uses learning processes (normally operant conditioning or cognitive processes) that make the dog motorize its behaviors based on motivations of a purely individual interest. Education is a different process that must be addressed from a different perspective.

Education is a special type of learning (or a combination of multiple types of learning) that aims to correct integration, maturity and effectiveness of individuals in their social group. You must therefore use affection, common goals and another series of characteristics needed in the balanced adult.

Education is especially important in altricial animals, as long childhoods mean a dependence on the mother and other members of the group for a relatively long period of time. Thus a training model that does not take into account the relationships of the puppy with his/her social group is not only less effective but very likely to lead to dysfunctional adults.

To achieve these objectives, education must meet a number of specific assumptions, knowledge of which is particularly interesting for us in order to know how to integrate the dog into our home environment as well as possible. Training and education must go hand in hand to obtain a social and manageable animal.

If the dog is bred in company- in addition to other people-, of social and well-behaved dogs, it allows free and prolonged interaction, it is likely that education is constructed correctly. Nevertheless, only dogs that come into contact with people during childhood may have some shortcomings, either through ignorance or through applying training ideas without sufficient ethological consistency.

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