What is positive reinforcement in dog training?

When it comes to dog training, positive reinforcement is a game-changer. It’s a fun and effective concept that entails rewarding your canine companion after he or she has done something correctly.

 In fact, positive reinforcement isn’t just a training technique in the canine world; it’s often used in schools and academic institutions. The education supports it so much that they even integrate this concept into their curriculums. Needing dog training? Contact Spectrum Canine, the best dog trainers in the bay area.

If you are a brand new dog owner, but have a crazy mutt on your hand, here is everything you need to know about positive reinforcement and how it can enhance your dog’s training session.

What is positive reinforcement in dog training?
Positive reinforcement emphasizes on adding something positive and favorable immediately after the proper behavior is initiated. The goal is to increase the frequency of the behavior by encouraging the person or animal to continue.

With that in mind, let’s dive deeper into this concept. There are two parts to this, “reinforcements” means that the behavior increases in frequency, and “positive” entails adding something favorable to the dog.

For example, if you ask your dog to sit, and he does exactly what you say, then you give him a treat, which is something favorable that you added to the training. The dog is more likely to increase the frequency when you request for it to obtain the treat.

What Kind of Reward Should You Use for Positive Reinforcement?
If you are looking for the perfect reward, then food is the best option because all dogs like food, and it’s easy to deliver quickly. Sometimes, dog owners would use “play” as a reward. This is a popular type of reward for agility training to keep the dog happy and energized. For example, if your border collie completes a short obstacle course flawlessly, it does make sense to play a fast game of tug-of-war to reward him.

However, food is still the best option because you can provide it quicker than a game of tug-of-war, which gives you the opportunity to do more repetition and to train your dog faster.

Petting and praising your four-legged friend is an excellent reward, but not as effective. You have to think about it in your dog‘s point of view, what does he or she have to gain with getting praised or petted. However, if you give him a treat after praise, then that’s a different story. Even scientific research has found that dogs prefer food over petting as a reward. 

What Do Most Dog Owners do Incorrectly?
One of the most common mistakes that dog owners make is believing that stopping something unpleasant is positive reinforcement, which is completely inaccurate. 

For example, owners who use shock collars believe that the dog will find it rewarding when the electric shock stop. What they don’t know is that “relief” is completely different from “reward.”

 Keep in mind that positive reinforcement means something is added to the process. Stopping something is completely different from adding to it. Because of the lack of regulation for dog training, dog owners need to be aware of this issue.

Is Positive Reinforcement an Excellent tool for dog training?

Many studies have reported that people who use positive reinforcement or reward-based training have reported more obedience and faster results than negative reinforcement. In fact, the use of punishment is connected to a more aggressive response.

With that in mind, it is safe to say that positive reinforcement is the most effective method in teaching your dog basic and advanced training commands, and it often results in obtaining a more proper and obedient response from the dog.