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Thread: Training - Using Pressure

  1. #1
    Member 3CBRS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Fairbanks, Alaska

    Default Training - Using Pressure

    This is from Bill Hillman's Training Tip "Using Pressure" (

    "Training and pressure are sort of like cooking - - - if you do too much, itís ruined. If the meat is too rare you can always throw it back on and add more heat. In training also, if youíre dealing with an issue such as getting in the water or force fetch or taking the correct cast or any other lesson - - -go easy at first because you can always add more pressure later. It is the sign of a poor trainer to use too much pressure right off the bat. The results can be very disappointing and may require weeks of back tracking to get to the point where you were before you even began. Even worse, a dog can be ruined and many have, for life. There are countless stories of heavy - handed trainers who have done great damage to dogs, some which never recovered. This may seem obvious but watch, it happens all the time . . . too much pressure too soon. . . and the results are usually miserable. Itís a much better idea to use pressure or force, whether itís a stick or e-collar or choke chain, a little more judiciously than just wading in with both barrels. Be careful and use respect and kindness."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009



    The trainer gives good advice. I learned the same thing many years ago from training horses. Introduce something to the horse (dog) and move slowly. If the horse (dog) has trouble with a particular phase of training, stop, examine your methods and messages, and go back to something the horse (dog) can do well, and try again on another day to get the horse (dog) to move forward again.

    Thanks for posting this.


  3. #3


    Another couple of training tidbits come to mind while I read through this.
    These too relate to pressure.....knowing where to start from and knowing when to simplify.
    Here's a few examples to explain:
    Dog training occurs in steps. It is just like building a house. You start with a solid foundation. In dog training that foundation is obedience. If you start with a weak foundation with holes where steps were skipped.....the structure you try to build on it will not be supported and will fail. To fix those problems you will always have to go back to the foundation to fix the gaps that were left behind in the initial buildup. So a solid obedience program is very important.
    I have seen folks trying to teach something that is more advanced. But get frustrated when they can't get the dog to succeed at the lesson due to problems in obedience. They resort to increasing pressure to obtain obedience. Which inevitably undermines the entire lesson they were trying to teach. Doing so will also give your dog a bad working attitude about wanting to work with you in later lessons. Point being... don't put your dog in a lesson they aren't ready for.
    Don't compare one dog to another. Not all dogs learn the same, even from the same litter. Just because the guys dog down the street can type on the computer doesn't mean you put your dog in front of the key board and smack him in the back of the head until he starts typing. Follow a step by step training program. It does take longer but doing so will be a lot more rewarding. In several months you will learn that your neighbors dog forgot to press save after hours of typing and lost everything. He didn't follow the same program you did therefore your dog learned the right steps and remembered to press save.

    When you walk out the door to go training you should have a training plan in mind. You should also have an idea of what to fall back to to simplify. You should always end your lesson on a positive. If you need to walk up closer to the pile. Have a bumper in your back pocket and remark the pile. Pick up and rethrow the bird. There is always another way to simplify. In early training or even in beginning phases of transition you want to take as much conflict out of training as possible. If the lesson you are trying to teach falls apart setup and do something that you know your dog will succeed at. Don't leave with your dog having failed and you being frustrated for it.


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