Positive reinforcement dog training has the potential to reap wonderful benefits. While training your dog, positive reinforcement helps create a trusted bond between you two. Owning a dog is one thing, having an obedient dog is another. As you may already know, a dog looks to its owner for guidance, or training, on what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. Continue reading on to learn why using positive reinforcement garners benefits outside of just obedience, and to hear some examples of positive reinforcement dog training in order to get more familiarized with it.
Your Words and Tone Hold the Key to Positive Reinforcement
One of the key benefits of positive reinforcement dog training is your dog’s self-esteem. You determine your dog’s level of happiness by what you provide for him, and how you treat him. If you treat your dog badly or practice a lot of negative talk toward your dog, he may start to reflect it in his attitude. Our dogs are always glad to see us after a period of separation like our work day. If your dog is not overjoyed at you walking into the house, you might want to think about how you’ve greeted him in the past.
Start and Stop Command Usage
Dogs are often excitable and happy though they may jump up and bark at your presence. If that is met with negative “get down”, or “go away” every time, eventually your dog may not be as excited to see you come home. There are ways to balance your commands without them being felt negatively by your dog and affecting his self-esteem. Your voice changes when you’re upset, frustrated, or angry. It’s a signal to your dog and he will act accordingly. A sharp “NO” will get his attention and if he listened, it should be balanced out with positive reinforcement letting him know he did good by listening. Give him a positive “good boy” and follow up with a treat. This creates a start point and stop point with your commands. “No” is what you want him to follow; it’s the start point. If he doesn’t obey, you may follow with “NO Charlie, get down” reinforcing what you want him to do. When he obeys—change your tone and offer the positive reinforcement words “Good boy Charlie”, the stop point command.
Finding the Balance
Command words and the tone of voice you use, backed with treats as rewards, are your greatest tools when using positive reinforcement dog training. The overuse of the word “NO” can sometimes confuse things for your dog. Use of more identifying words like “No jump” or “No bark” can get better results as your dog learns to relate the words to the behavior. You’ll want to quickly add the positive reinforcement words once your dog obeys. The tone in the stop command should be less firm and more relaxed than the start command. Don’t try to overthink it too much, a dog’s attention span is much faster than ours and he’ll be onto the next thing that grabs his attention. Staying consistent and patient are important when using positive reinforcement dog training.
Training is a difficult learning period for both you and your dog. The best thing you can do is make sure to balance training time with play time. There’s a time to learn and a time for play. Make sure he’s getting the best of both worlds!
Do you use positive reinforcement training with your dog? We’d love to hear why or why not.