Every dog parent takes pride in owning a well-trained and well-behaved dog, and that’s why dog training is essential. Once you’re committed to getting your dog trained, you may be left wondering how best to go about it. 

In the world of dog training, there are various schools of thought and techniques for dog training, but it’s best to adopt humane training techniques like those used at K9 Answers Dog Training programs. One of such humane dog training techniques is positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement dog training is a technique used by trainers and pet owners to help correct unwanted behaviors in dogs. 

Let’s take a closer look at what positive reinforcement training is and why it’s an effective dog training technique.

What Is Positive Reinforcement? 

Positive reinforcement is one of the most humane and productive ways to train a dog. With positive reinforcement, you reward your dog for good behavior, which encourages them to repeat that behavior. The benefits of positive reinforcement are many; for one, it’s very effective. Dogs are more likely to remember what they’ve been rewarded for than what they’ve been punished for. Positive reinforcement is also a great way to build a bond of trust between you and your furry friend. When you reward your dog for good behavior, you’re telling them that you appreciate them and that you’re happy with what they’ve done. This reinforces the idea that the two of you are working together as a team, and that creates a stronger relationship.

What Kind Of Reward Is Used In Positive Reinforcement? 

Just as we human beings love to be praised, pampered, and encouraged for our good efforts, the same thing applies to dogs. When training your dog with positive reinforcement, you should use something that your dog loves and enjoy as a reward. This could be anything from treats to petting, verbal praise, or playing with them. However, you should understand that majority of dogs are highly motivated by food; thus, food rewards are considerably more successful. Here are some tips that’ll guide you when choosing a treat for your dog;

  • Try out various treats to determine your dog’s favorite. Make sure the treats are mouthwatering and irresistible.
  • Each time you give a treat, make sure it’s little and easy to chew. This will help your dog eat up quickly and be eager to learn more. 
  • Your dog can get bored of snacking on the same treat every time; therefore, get a variety of treats to keep your dog interested in the learning process.
  • Combine food threats with verbal praises such as good dog to further express how much you love your dog’s response. 

Whichever positive rewards you use, try to take note of their effectiveness. If you notice that your dog wags its tail after each reward, that’s an indication that your furry friend is excited, happy, and encouraged.

The Scientific Explanation Behind Why Positive Reinforcement Works For Dog Training

Now that you understand what positive reinforcement is, let’s take a look at the scientific explanation behind it. There’s a phenomenon called operant conditioning, also known as trial-and-error learning. This phenomenon shows that a dog learns to understand the relationship between their actions and the resultant consequences. In other words, a dog can learn to understand that when they exhibit good behavior, they’ll receive pleasant consequences. When you reward your dog for good behavior, you’re indirectly reinforcing that behavior. What this means is that your furry friend is more likely to repeat that behavior in the future because it’s been taught that it will lead to a positive outcome such as yummy treats and praises.

Conversely, negative reinforcement is when you punish your dog for bad behavior. In other words, you’re teaching your dog that bad behavior leads to a negative outcome. This technique is inhumane; it can be confusing and frustrating for your dog and often lead to behavioral problems down the road.

Guidelines For Follow When Training Your Dog With Positive Reinforcement Technique

  • Consistency

If you’re training your dog with a positive reinforcement technique, you need to be consistent. This means you should always reward desired behavior in your dog and never reward unwanted behavior. Also, ensure that every member of your family understands the new training technique. Endeavor to encourage your family to follow the same training method. You could even make a list of things to do and things to avoid so that everyone learns the trick.

It’s important to be patient when training your dog. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your pup isn’t going to learn everything overnight. But if you stick with it, using positive reinforcement will definitely help train your dog the right way.

  • Make it brief

The first language your pup understand is your body language and short and precise cues like stand, sit, stay, and more. During your positive reinforcement training, try to avoid saying long sentences like ” Charlie, be a good little pup and keep your eyes on me.” This type of long statement will get your dog confused, and you won’t get your desired response. It can make the training process draggy and ineffective. But if you make your words brief coupled with the right body movement, your dog will respond better.

  • Consider the timing

Timing is crucial during positive reinforcement training; you need to give the reward as soon as the desired behavior is performed. It should be done within seconds because a little delay can get your dog confused. For instance, if you successfully get your dog to lie down but give the reward when the dog is standing, this will cause a misinterpretation.

In conclusion, the idea behind positive reinforcement is that the more your dog behaves in the way you want them to, the more they get rewarded. And over time, this positive reinforcement will start to have an effect, and your dog will start to behave better gradually. It’s an effective training technique, and it’s highly recommended for training dogs.

By Manali