Last Updated on November, 2021
Dogs are much eager to learn when rewards are involved. This is exactly the way positive reinforcement dog training works.
This positive puppy training method is the best way to train a dog, whether it be a puppy or an adult dog. It’s so effective that the chances of failure are very slim. However, if you’re expecting to see results, it’s not that simple. Implementing this method to train a dog needs practice and understanding.
So here’s everything you need to know about positive reinforcement training, how it works, and how to train your puppy effectively with it.
What Is Positive Reinforcement Dog Training?
Positive reinforcement dog training is a behavior modification technique that allows for the positive reinforcement of desired behaviors through the use of encouragement and praise. This process works by rewarding desirable behaviors with treats, toys, or other positive reinforcers.
Positive methods help to increase good behavior as opposed to punishing unwanted behaviors. In addition, one of the many benefits of this type of training is that it establishes a healthy relationship between dogs and their owners.
This type of training is beneficial for dogs because many have a much easier time understanding what is being asked when they are given praise rather than reprimand.
The result can be that the dog learns quicker by giving praise and rewards when performing the desired action instead of reprimanding them each time they fail to perform it correctly – leading to improved results in the long term and in the future.
Positive reinforcement dog training is also sometimes referred to as; force-free dog training, clicker training, science-based dog training, reward-based training, or positive puppy training.
Why Use Positive Reinforcement?
Here are some reasons why you should train your dog with positive reinforcement.
This effective method is recommended by many puppy owners, professional dog trainers, and veterinarians. Dogs trained through this system are known to become more obedient than dogs trained using any other training methods.
It is by far the best way to teach a dog a new behavior, and it also increases the bond between both you and your dog. Positive reinforcement dog training provides much faster results compared to other training methods too.
However, even today, many dog owners don’t use reward-based dog training to train their dogs. Instead, many tend to use negative reinforcement, but it is not the best way when it comes to training a dog.
Using harsh techniques will result in an aggressive pup that’s actually aggressive towards its own family. It can also drastically affect the relationship between the dog and its owner, plus it also introduces fear in the dog.
So, this makes it clear that using reward-based training methods when teaching your dog is actually much better when it comes to the good of both you and your pup.
Tips For Training Your Dog With Positive Reinforcement
1. Check What Type Of Rewards Your Dog’s Interested In!
Most dogs are more motivated by food and toys than other rewards, while others respond better to praise and physical contact. So it is essential for you to find out what motivates your dog the most.
If your puppy doesn’t find the reward you use interesting, it’s possible he will not learn to do the tasks perfectly. However, since most dogs are food motivated, here are some essential things to keep in mind.
- The treat should be small and soft so that dogs eat it quickly.
- You will want to keep a variety of treats on hand so that you don’t bore your furry friend with the same snack every time.
- It’s great to reward your dog with treats, but make sure you combine it with praise. For example, say words such as “good boy” or “yes!”
2. Environment Matters for Positive Reinforcement Training
Beginning the training sessions in an area with less distraction is a must, and once the dog is more experienced, gradually move to more distracting areas.
3. Timing Is Essential
Timing while reward-based dog training is crucial in order to avoid annoying your pet and wrongly associating one action with another. If the timing is off, the dog may not associate the behavior with the reward and show a different behavior in an attempt to get it.
For example, if a dog “sits” and gets rewarded for standing up afterward, they’ll think the reward is for standing up.
So make sure you reward your dog soon as he does the desired behavior.
4. Keep Training Sessions Short And Fun
Many dog owners get discouraged because their sessions seem to be dragging on for hours or are boring, dry, and repetitive. For many, training is all business with no fun. And if your dog begins to associate training with boredom, then you may find that he is uninterested in participating.
Keep training sessions short and fun. Engaging your dog in a variety of fun games and making the training sessions positive experiences will have your dog excited about learning and training.
Dogs that are excited about their own training will be more likely to get good results and deliver the behaviors you are looking for. (1)
5. Don’t Force Your Dog
Don’t force your dog while training. If your dog isn’t willing, it’s better to call it a day than pushing it. Focus on something else or come back later when they are more into it.
For example, if your dog tries to run away from training and refuses all commands offered, that’s a sign that it’s not the right time for training.
6. Be Consistent
To avoid confusing your pup, it is key that every member in your household use the exact same cues that you use while training. Therefore, it may come in handy to list out cues that everyone can become accustomed to.
Also, being consistent throughout the course of training your dog is extremely crucial too in order to keep the training sessions going smoothly.
If you’re inconsistent in your training, the dog will never know what behavior is to be reinforced and what behavior is not. As a result, confusion and frustration could ensue for both you and your pet.
7. Provide Mental Stimulation
If your puppy shows signs of boredom, it may be because they are lacking mental stimulation. There are a few things you can do to help with this. One is to train your puppy with new tricks.
Short, positive training sessions are a great way to keep your dog’s mind sharp and their energy level high throughout the day. Your pup will also be busy trying to learn and please you with the task at hand, which is great for any time of day when exercise may not come naturally (or easily).
8. Cut Back On Treats
If your dog is performing the desired action consistently, you can stop rewarding them with treats and simply praise them.
Pros And Cons Of Positive Reinforcement Training
- Dogs will learn more quickly and easily if they are rewarded for correct behavior.
- Treats are preferred over punishments.
- Food makes training fun for the dog and means that it can be happy and willing to learn.
- The dog is more likely to learn a behavior since he will want to repeat the behavior in order to get a reward.
- Longer sessions can result in less focus and concentration.
- There is a chance that your dog will ignore your commands if you do not have treats on hand.
- It can be time-consuming at times.
Positive reinforcement training is fun, humane, and effective for dogs of all breeds and temperaments! If you want a well-behaved dog, then this is the only way to do that.
Training your dog using force-free techniques will not only help you get the behavior you want from your dog but also strengthen the bond between both of you.