Using Positive Reinforcement When Training

Training a dog can be a pleasurable experience and when you use positive training techniques, it is not only pleasurable for you, it is pleasurable for them as well. Along with being an enjoyable experience, it is a very powerful tool that can be used for that purpose. When you do it right, it can really make a difference in how quickly they are trained but when you do it wrong, there may be consequences.

First of all, you need to consider the type of praise that will be given to the dog when they are going through the training process. One of the obvious ways to do so is by giving them a treat of some sort or another. There are other ways to train the dog positively, however, including giving them a nice scratch behind the ears or giving them a very positive verbal reward as well.

On the matter of treats, you do need to be cautious when using them, especially if you plan on using them in training the dog regularly. Most dogs will appreciate treats and they will sit there and eat as many of them as you happen to feed them. This can lead to an obvious problem, and your dog may end up gaining some unwanted weight from the training process. That is why it is important to cut the treat into small pieces that are about the size of your thumbnail or perhaps a little smaller. Your dog will enjoy them just as much as the entire training snack. Eventually, try to wean them off of treats.

Another factor that needs to be considered for positive training is to keep things as simple as possible. While it may be tempting to use a multi-word command because it is more descriptive of what you want them to do, they truly don’t understand the language that you are speaking. They will understand the cues, however, so telling them to “go lay down” may be a little bit more complex for them than just telling them “down”.

Something that many pet owners do that can really be harmful to the dog is to be inconsistent when training them. For example, you may be trying to teach the dog to stay off of the furniture but then on one occasion, you let them feel as if it is okay and you may even allow them to curl up on your lap and scratch them behind the ears. It is important for them to follow rules consistently or it may end up confusing and frustrating them.

Finally, be sure that you avoid any type of correction that is negative to the dog. If the dog is acting poorly, avoid the temptation to yell at them or perhaps even using something positive in a negative way. It’s not that you can’t tell your dog no when they are acting up, but they need to know that there is a difference between being rewarded for something positive or being corrected when they are being trained.

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