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Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive Reinforcement an effective human dog training method

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Positive Reinforcement Dog Training

Positive reinforcement dog training is widely accepted among the vast majority of dog training experts. The training method is effective and a humane way to train your dog. Many people have found that positive reinforcement training works better than dog training collars and other training methods!

What is Positive Reinforcement Dog Training?

Using positive reinforcement entails rewarding the behavior that you wish to see repeated, and ignoring the behavior that you don’t. Positive reinforcement dog training works with your dog. The theory of positive reinforcement recognizes that lessons are more meaningful for dogs, and tend to “stick” more, when a dog is able to figure out what you’re asking.

When you use positive reinforcement training, you’re allowing the dog the time and the opportunity to use her own brain.

Some ways a dog owner can facilitate the training process:

  • Use meaningful rewards. Dogs get bored pretty quickly with a routine pat on the head and a “good girl” (and, in fact, most dogs don’t even like being patted on the head – watch their expressions and notice how most will balk or shy away when a hand descends towards their head). To keep the quality of your dog’s learning at a high standard, use tempting incentives for good behavior. Food treats and physical affection are what dog trainers refer to as “primary incentives” – in other words, they’re both significant rewards that most dogs respond powerfully and reliably to.
  • Use the right timing. When your dog obeys a command, you must mark the behavior that you’re going to reward so that, when she gets that treat in her mouth, she understands exactly what behavior it was that earned her the reward. You can also use your voice to mark desired behavior: just saying “Yes!” in a happy, excited tone of voice will work perfectly.
  • Consistent dog training commands. When you’re teaching a dog a command, you must decide ahead of time on the verbal cue you’re going to be giving her, and then stick to it. So, when training your dog to not jump up on you, you wouldn’t ask her to “get off”, “get down”, and “stop jumping”, because that would just confuse her; you’d pick one phrase, such as “No jump”, and stick with it. Your dogs rate of obedience will be much better if you choose one particular phrase and use it every time you wish her to enact a certain behavior for you.

How to reward your dog meaningfully

All dogs have their favorite treats and preferred demonstrations of physical affection. Some dogs will do backflips for a dog treat and other dogs prefer to be rewarded through a game with a cherished toy, or through some affection from you.

How to correct your dog when using positive reinforcement dog training

The great thing about positive reinforcement dog training is that it doesn’t require you to do anything that might go against the grain. You won’t be called upon to put any complex, weighty correctional theories into practice, or be required to undertake any harsh punitive measures.

When it comes to positive reinforcement training, all you have to do is ignore the behavior that you don’t wish to see repeated. Not getting any attention (because you’re deliberately ignoring her) is enough to make just about any dog pretty miserable, and thus is a powerful correctional tool.

Contemporary belief in dog training states that we should simply ignore incorrect responses to a training command – that, with no reinforcement from us (yes, even negative attention – like verbal corrections – counts as reinforcement: to some dogs, negative attention is better than no attention at all), the dog will stop the behavior of her own accord.

The bigger the fuss you make over her when she does get it right, the clearer the connection will be between a particular behavior(s) eliciting no response at all, but other behaviors (the right response) eliciting massive amounts of positive attention from you.

Need more dog training advice? Check out take a look at SitStayFetch. It’s the complete handbook for dog owners, and is step-by-step how-to’s for dog training.

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4 Comments »

  • Ty Brown said:

    I think positive reinforcement is great but I also think it is only half the equation.
    What happens when your dog is running toward traffic to chase a cat. If you tell him to come and he doesn’t it doesn’t help to ignore the disobedience. I don’t believe in harsh methods but I think proper corrections are essential to proper training.

  • Bark Collar said:

    Good point and article…Thanks for sharing us on how to implement positive reinforcement dog training…I really appreciate your tips…

  • Ruth said:

    Sometimes I have to wonder in a training session who is training whom. We can learn from our dogs just as much as they learn from us. A really good book on the subject is Life To The Max by Robin Reynolds in which she tells the story of what she and her family learned about life from their dog Max. It’s a really heartwarming look at just how much we can learn from our dogs.

  • Dachshund Rowena said:

    wonderful post, well i was looking for information in online to train my dog. i really appreciate your tips for dog owner to facilitate the training process, really awesome. thanks.

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