Even though dogs have been domesticated for over 15,000 years now, they still carry animal instincts and need to be trained to follow your directions and be good pets. However, the dog training method that you use plays a key role as it creates a huge impact on your pet’s behavior and personality.
You cannot expect to have a healthy and happy pet if you use coercive measures or downright force as it would have devastating effects on their mental and physical wellbeing. Wrong training methods can even lead to serious behavioral issues in dogs.
Positive reinforcement is considered the best dog training method. Since it involves the use of rewards, it naturally encourages positive behaviors. Positive reinforcement dog training is highly recommended by both training experts and experienced owners.
Interesting Fact: Positive reinforcement not only works for pets but is also an effective method for behavioral conditioning in humans.
However, just like any other training method, there are certain dos and don’ts of positive reinforcement dog training that should be followed for maximum effectiveness. To help make it easier for you to follow positive reinforcement with your canine friend, here we’re highlighting some of the major dos and don’ts of positive reinforcement dog training.
Keep Training Sessions Short, Engaging, and Fun
Dogs’ behavior is somewhat like children – you cannot keep them involved in boring activities for a long time. Long and boring training sessions can be counterproductive. Keep your training sessions short, fun, and engaging to get the most out of them.
Respond to Your Dog’s Behavior Regularly
For your positive reinforcement to work, you need to be consistent with your responses. Appreciate, reward your dog every time it does something good or follow your direction. Also, make it a point to intervene and tell your dog, every time it does something wrong, that it’s not acceptable. However, make sure to only use your voice to stop unwanted behavior and not force.
Use Short, Simple Commands
Dogs do not understand long sentences. To make sure they understand your directions, use short and simple commands. Also, when you’re just starting the positive reinforcement dog training, pair up the commands with physical cues to make sure your pup clearly understands what you’re asking it to do.
Do Not Use Force or Fear
There may be times when your dog just doesn’t seem to pick up your cue or command, and you feel like yelling or scolding it. You may also want to punish your dog when it doesn’t follow your commands and make the same mistake repeatedly. However, as per dog trainers, anything that causes pain and fear has a negative impact on dogs. They get disturbed, some get aggressive while others completely shut down. They will also become scared of you, which will ruin the beautiful relationship you two share.
Do Not Delay Rewards
For positive reinforcement to work, you should reward your dog as soon as it follows your command or displays positive behavior. Remember, dogs do not have the ability to connect delayed reactions with their earlier actions. So, if you delay the reward, your dog won’t be able to figure out the action or behavior you’re rewarding it for. It will associate with something in the present.
When using positive reinforcement, always reward your dog immediately.
Do Not Be Inconsistent
You have to be consistent with training, your behavior, and responses for positive reinforcement dog training to work. For example, give your dog a pat over the head whenever he follows your command and does its business at the designated place. Provide the same response every time. Varied or dissimilar responses will only make the poor dog confused.
Dog training is often a long and demanding process that requires time, effort, consistency, and patience. Follow these tips to raise a healthy, happy, and well-behaved pet or hire a professional dog trainer [you can create a backlink to your website here] to make your life easier.