Rules of Thumb in Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement training is a way of teaching your pet to behave properly by rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. Studies have shown that punishment correlates negatively with obedience. Additionally, your dog will not be as stressed or fearful if you reward good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior.

1. Immediately reward/praise desired behavior – Dogs react immediately and need your praise as soon as they behave as expected or they may not know what behavior you’re rewarding.

2. Keep it short & uncomplicated – Use single word phrases for commands like “sit,” or “stay,” as opposed to “sit down now.” Dogs can understand commands if they aren’t muddled in the rest of your language.

3. Be consistent – If you reward your dog for sitting still when company arrives, but occasionally let them jump on guests, the dog will not understand what behavior is acceptable. Keep consistent, even when you’re tired or not feeling up to it. Your dog depends on the consistency to behave best for you. Also make sure that all caretakers understand what behavior are allowed as to keep consistency among people in your dog’s life.

4. Reinforce doggy training at home – Along the lines of being consistent, if your pooch is being professionally trained, make sure you ask for pointers or continue to follow the advice prescribed by the trainer. One of the worst things you can do is erase the training you paid for by forgetting to enforce training at home and sending your dog mixed messages.

5. It’s okay to say no – Just because you want to keep your dog training positive, doesn’t mean you should stop saying no. If your dog is acting inappropriately you should absolutely correct the behavior and say “no,” when needed.