Remember how as a child, a candy your parents bought for a good score on a test got you on cloud 9? And how you couldn’t wait to get good scores again? How being a good child got you tons of presents from Santa every Christmas? And the reminder would get you in line instantly? That’s positive reinforcement.
Just the same, you can also reinforce good behavior in your dog with positive encouragement. However, unlike human kids, dogs care little about money or presents and more about praises, petting, a walk, or treats. Every time the dog is rewarded for a certain behavior, it will repeat it.
It is one of the simplest and most effective methods to train your dogs. Additionally, positive reinforcement training is equally rewarding for both the dog and the owner. However, you might need some tips and pointers to make sure you are doing it right.
Here are some things to remember during positive reinforcement dog training:
Involve Everyone in the Family
Positive reinforcement training is a great way to connect with your dog. Thankfully, this method also allows everyone in the family to get involved, even little kids. This training doesn’t require any strong tone, strength, or puts anyone in danger. All you have to do is issue a command (gently, of course) and the minute the dog obeys, give them the treat. You can hand off the treats to the kids and teach them the same commands.
Do Not Delay the Reward
Dogs need to know that what they just did was perfect and hence, should be rewarded without a moment’s delay. Use your praises or treats to reward the dog as soon as they did what you asked them to. For instance, every time your dog does his business outside, treat him right then to housetrain him. Similarly, every time your dog sits, stands, and stays on your command, praise them. Taking too long to reward will confuse your dog, and it wouldn’t know what it is being rewarded for.
Use It for All Kinds of Behavior Training
Positive reinforcement training methods can be used to reinforce all kinds of behavior, even corrective. Using punishment or admonishment can make the behavior even worse. For instance, a fearful dog will fear everything even more if it is punished for its behavior. The best way to handle aggressive and fearful dogs is through positive reinforcement training.
Keep Your Commands Short
It’s easy to forget that dogs don’t comprehend sentences. Instead, they comprehend body language. The best way to train them is to use gestures to command them. If a command is more complicated, use short one words. Some of the common commands include down, watch, stay, sit, heel, come, go, off, leave it, etc.
Positive reinforcement methods might use treats for the dogs, but every time the dog learns a command, it’s just as rewarding for the owners. It is joy and happiness all around. So, always use positive reinforcement to train your canine friend and if you need any help, consult a professional dog trainer.