At It’s Not The Dog we believe Positive Reinforcement Training is the best way to train animals. Positive Training means you are rewarding the behaviours you like and ignoring the behaviours you do not like. You can use treats, praise, or life rewards (i.e. games, walks) to reward your dog's good behaviour.
Positive Training Enables Clear Communication with your Dog
Positive reinforcement allows you to communicate effectively with your dog. You chose the behaviour and let him know what you want by rewarding him when he does it. When you reward your dog for doing things correctly, he's more likely to repeat those good behaviours.
Punishment based training is not so clear. If we look at a common problem of housebreaking accidents. You scold your dog for urinating on the carpet or even smack him with a rolled-up newspaper. You believe you’re telling your dog that it's not acceptable for him to eliminate inside your home. Instead, your dog may learn that it's not safe to toilet when you’re around. The result may be that your dog has accidents when left alone, but never seem to catch him in the act. There's a communication problem here; fear is not an effective way for a dog to learn things properly.
With positive reinforcement, you can avoid this confusion. You want to teach your dog to eliminate outside rather than in your home. In this scenario, you reward the behaviour you want, which is going to the toilet outside. In this case, every time your dog eliminates outside, you give him lots of praise and treats or you can also reward him by giving him some playtime. Your dog quickly learns that good things happen when he toilets outside while nothing happens when he goes indoors. Your dog will soon be eliminating outside in an effort to reap the rewards. You've managed to clearly communicate with your dog.
Positive Train can be Fun and Reduce your Dog's Excess Energy
Dogs' with common behaviour problems can often be bored and under stimulated either physically or mentally. Training is a great way to have fun and reduce boredom. You’ll surprised at how much energy your dog will burn off by adding a few short, positive training sessions to his day.
Keep training sessions short and upbeat, and positive reinforcement training will be enjoyable for you and your dog. Once dogs recognize that training leads to lots of good things for them, they are keen to learn. Your dog will soon be offering you good behaviours in the hopes of getting his rewards.
You can Train a Variety of Behaviours with Positive Reinforcement
Using leash corrections or other forms of negative consequence punishment is not effective for every dog. Punishment can, in fact, make a behaviour problem worse. Aggressive dogs are one example of this; getting even more aggressive in the face of punishment. Fearful dogs also will not respond well to even the smallest punishment. A dog who is scared of certain people or situations may become even more fearful when punishment is used as a training method.
It strengthens your relationship with your dog
Our dogs are our friends and companions; part of our family. Positive reinforcement methods of training will reinforce we have with our dogs. Other training methods may teach your dog how to behave but positive reinforcement will help you lead your dog strengthening your relationship and gaining his trust. Your dog will enjoy your company if he's looking forward to being rewarded rather than fearing punishment. So, spending time on positive reinforcement methods of training is sure to strengthen your bond with your dog.
At It’s Not The Dog we understand that you have choices when it comes to training; here are some answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about Positive Training potential disadvantages.
I Don’t Want to Bribe my Dog
We don’t want you to bribe your dog either. There is a big difference between bribing and reinforcing with food.
Bribery is the act of presenting the food to the dog in order to get the dog to perform a desired behaviour. Whereas reinforcing is the act of presenting something a dog finds valuable (food, toy, praise, etc.) after the dog has performed the behaviour. I like to think of it as being like my bonus scheme at work, something a little extra for working a little harder.
I Want My Dog To Respect Me, Not Just Work For Treats
Dogs that are punished into "submission" don't work out of respect, any more than the person who gives their bag to a mugger holds respect for the criminal.