With warmer weather approaching we’re now able to take dog training outdoors! In this article we’re going to chat about “Positive Reinforcement Training” for your dog and how to utilize this training method. Let’s get into it…
Positive Reinforcement Training: What is it?
Positive reinforcement training uses rewards to teach your dog what is expected of it. When the dog performs the desired behavior, he is provided with a reward, most often in the form of a food treat, but it could be a scratch behind the ears, a rub under the chin or a pat on the head as well. The important thing is that the dog is rewarded consistently for doing the right thing.
Reward training has become increasingly popular in recent years, but chances are some sort of reward training between humans and dogs has been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years. When understanding what makes reward training so effective, some knowledge of the history of humans and dogs is very helpful.
Positive reinforcement is also the best way to retrain a dog that has behavior problems, especially one that has been abused in the past. Getting the respect and trust of an abused dog can be very difficult, and positive reinforcement is better than any other training method at creating this important bond.
A dog with a more submissive personality will generally be easier to train using positive reinforcement, since he or she will not want to challenge the handler for leadership. Even dominant dogs, however, respond very well to positive reinforcement. There are, in fact, few dogs that do not respond well to positive reinforcement, also known as reward training.
The basis of all good dog training, including reward based training, is for you to set yourself up as the pack leader. It is important for the dog to see itself as part of a pack, to recognize you are the leader of that pack. Some dogs are much easier to dominate than others. If you watch a group of puppies playing for a little while, you will quickly recognize the dominant and submissive personalities.
No matter what type of dog you are working with, chances are it can be helped with positive reinforcement training methods. Based training methods on respect and trust, rather than intimidation and fear, is the best way to train any dog.