LGD Training Overview
The training of LGDs is specialized training. Even people who have trained companion dogs for years will encounter a learning curve as they begin to work with LGDs. I see this as a dynamic opportunity for personal growth, as a trainer.
“LGDs are not pets.”
If you’ve been working at becoming a well-informed LGD owner you have no doubt encountered this statement, but what does it really mean? Animals learn when they are exposed to stimulus. Stimulus can be a product of the animal’s environment or it may come from a human. That human may be purposefully making training choices in managing the dog, or the dog may be learning from the human just by observation. A lot of the training humans do with animals they do by accident! An example of this would be a companion dog that learns what will happen next when his owner picks up the car keys.
Learning happens when an animal is motivated. Physical comfort is motivating, pain and fear are motivating. Understanding what motivates an animal allows a trainer to make well informed training decisions.
LGDs have specialized priorities in life that are not common to most pet dog breeds. I offer these three examples:
LGDs are nocturnal workers.
LGDs are property managers; they own real estate, as they see it.
LGDs have been genetically selected to work independently of human instruction.
If you look at just these three traits, from a training and motivational standpoint, it is easy to see that what motivates an LGD may be very different than what motivates a pet dog. Most of the companion dogs breeds have been genetically selected to accept some degree of instruction from humans.
I have found success as an LGD trainer by viewing training as two separate pieces: I need to understand how dogs learn and I need to understand what LGDs care about so that I know how to motivate them. If I can motivate them, I can influence their behavior.
Here are my suggestions as to how to become a well-informed LGD owner/trainer:
Complete the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Foundations Course using the training manual:
Link to sign up for the course:
Amazon Link to Purchase the Training Manual:
Through completion of this course, you will develop a greater understanding of how dogs learn. This will improve your communication with your LGD, and with every animal in your life. The course is a game changer.
Take advantage of the extensive blog posts library on my web site. Most of the training blog posts include videos of training being done here with LGDs on my ranch.
Have fun! Happy training! Please let me know if I can be of assistance.