LIMA, or the Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive method, is used by professional dog trainers worldwide for training your furry friends. This method focuses on using a milder approach while teaching dogs different skills or how to behave.
As the name suggests, the least intrusive and minimally aversive methods teach your dog the proper behavior. Some people resort to punishment to teach dogs how to behave appropriately, but LIMA is the opposite approach. The trainers should have adequate training on training in LIMA to give dogs the correct emotional and physical conditioning.
LIMA trainers use humane methods that benefit the dog in the long run. It causes less stress for the dog compared to other training methods.
A Brief Primer On LIMA Dog Training
LIMA (Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive) dog training is a set of methods trainers use to correct your dog’s behavior or teach new skills. It is an approach where the trainer takes their time to understand a dog’s temperament and behavior to develop an idea of how to deal with aggressive dogs or pups.
Some methods in the past involved punishing dogs using different devices if they couldn’t carry out commands by the trainers. These methods include collars that send tiny electric currents or prong the dog. These methods made the dogs obedient out of fear, which wasn’t beneficial in the long run.
You cannot learn and complete the LIMA principles by finishing a course. Trainers must keep themselves updated with the latest developments in the dog-training world since it is a competence-based method.
LIMA dog training involves many principles you must implement adequately to achieve the best results. Let us look at how consultants train dogs using the LIMA training approach.
- Understanding The Dog Using Positive Reinforcement
Trainers using the LIMA approach must use positive reinforcement to help the dog understand its duty. This method was introduced to do away with punishing dogs when they could not listen to commands.
Whenever a pup completes a task you command it to do, you can reward it with a treat or belly rubs. As you keep repeating this reward system, the pup will slowly understand the positives of completing specific tasks.
The trainer should observe the type of stimulus that the dog responds to. The dog might react negatively if uncomfortable with specific environments, foods, handling, etc. So, the trainer has to note which incentives strengthen the dog’s behavior and which do not.
- Trainers Must Use Calculated Strategies
The dog’s success depends on the trainer’s strategies. They must understand the dog’s behavior and try to get to the bottom of the behavior. It is impossible to rectify a dog’s behavior if you haven’t identified the causes in the first place.
If a dog is aggressive, the trainer must identify why it acts that way. The problem might be the people around the dog, its environment, your handling, etc. Whatever the reason is, the LIMA approach requires you to understand the behavior’s purpose and the repercussion that comes along with it.
After understanding what is causing the dog to behave negatively, the trainer should devise a calculated strategy to try and rectify its behavior. The trainer’s goal is to use sensible methods to improve the dog’s behavior.
The trainer should be able to adequately solve problems and understand the results of their actions on the dog’s temperament. They must be sensitive to the dog’s experience while giving training.
- Try To Avoid Using Punishment
Using punishment to train dogs to behave in specific manners can be detrimental to their mental and emotional health. It hurts them physically, but you also insert fear into their minds.
This fear will lead to anxiety, making them aggressive toward other animals and humans. When you use punishment to correct dog behavior, it will only close the doors for you to understand their likes and dislikes. The dog will develop a case of suppressed behavior, where the trainer cannot read the animal’s preferences.
The dog will relate to the trainer with physical pain or harm and stop showing signs of positive behavior. The trainer cannot know the stimulus to improve a dog’s behavior when this happens. Dogs are animals that respond to love and care, so it is best not to use punishment to train or teach them skills and commands.
- Provide Different Choices & Give The Dog Complete Control
The trainer should always have different strategies to study the dog’s behavior. They should not force only selected stimuli on the dogs. The dog’s behavior will not be the same in all situations, so it is best to offer it as much control and choice as possible.
Respecting the dog comes a long way when you are trying to understand its behavior. By acknowledging the dog’s characteristics, choices, needs, and abilities, the trainer will have more scope to understand what the dog needs to improve its behavior.
- Incorporate Negative Reinforcement
Negative reinforcement does not mean the trainer punishes the dog by causing physical pain. You can even use this method at home to reduce or modify a dog’s behavior.
You can take away a positive reinforcer if you want your dog to change a specific behavior. This will leave an impression on the dog that it won’t have access to the thing it likes if it does the same action.
Negative reinforcement is another sub-method that will provoke the proper behavior in a dog if you remove an unpleasant stimulus. The last one is removing the incentive entirely to push back the unwanted behavior.
LIMA Crate Training – Getting Started
Training a pup to remain calm inside a crate can be challenging, especially when it is full of energy. Some puppies might also react to being kept in crates negatively. A trainer should be able to understand all the causes why pups react poorly to crates.
Experts have conjured many methods to train dogs to behave correctly and respond positively to commands. However, the LIMA approach advocates avoiding punishment while training dogs to improve their behavior.
The LIMA approach can also be used to train pups to react positively when they are put in crates. Using the Human Hierarchy principles in the LIMA approach can bring out excellent results.
A crate is not a dog’s favorite place, as it is small and leaves them with less room for movement. If you want the dog to get used to crates, you must use positive reinforcement to cultivate that behavior.
Put your puppy’s favorite toy or snack inside the crate and let them go inside. When the pup comes out, you should not give it any treats. As you continue this practice, the puppy will understand that it will be rewarded if it stays inside the crate.
You can also let the dog stay in the crate for a while and treat it when it comes out. The ultimate goal is to make the pup feel the crate is its home. So, when you give treats to the dog for staying inside, it will continue to maintain that behavior.
Best LIMA Dog Training Books To Help You Out
The LIMA dog training approach is one of the many methods of training dogs to improve their negative behaviors. Trainers must rigorously learn the latest research and developments on dog behavior to produce the best results.
If you are interested in learning more about LIMA Dog Training, here is a list of books you can refer to. They are not purely LIMA handbooks, but these books have integrated various aspects of the famous dog training method.
- Border Collies A Breed Apart Book Three: Behavior Insights, Issues, and Solutions
This book (affiliate link) focuses on the study of the mental complexity of Border Collies. Carol Godsend gives readers tremendous insight into why this particular breed of dog behaves the way they are behaving.
The author uses the LIMA approach to understand the dog’s behavior by using specific stimuli and relaying the solutions to the readers. It is an excellent book regarding the LIMA dog training approach.
- The Eye of the Trainer: Animal Training, Transformation, and Trust
Eye of The Trainer (affiliate link) is an excellent book that proves how positive reinforcement can bring a total behavioral change in your canine friend. The trainer, Ken Ramirez, has written this book using all his experience dealing with animals.
He believes that a trainer can convert a shy dog into a confident one with the right amount of positive enforcement. Aggressive dogs also become calm and start trusting their owners and handlers.
- The Stress Factor in Dogs: Unlocking Resiliency and Enhancing Well-Being
Dr. Kristina Spaulding is a behavioral expert who has written The Stress Factor In Dogs (affiliate link), which talks about how stress affects how dogs react to different stimuli. She explains how stress is connected to negative behaviors in dogs, including aggression and impulsiveness.
This book will explain how a dog’s emotional health is essential to its behavior and how you can rectify the problems using different solutions.
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