Effective Dog Training

Tips on Dog Training: Positive Reinforcement

We all want our dogs to be able to give a paw, sit and lie down on a command. However, few know how to do it, and others even have no idea how to approach the teaching process.
Be this as it may, we want to tell you about two basic methods of training: positive and negative reinforcement. Both of them help your dog to understand how to behave and what you want from it on the basis of repeated actions and their results.
Positive reinforcement consists of praising your dog when it does something in a right way. For example, you give your dog some treats. You use negative reinforcement when you punish your dog when it is doing something bad. For example, you take away a toy, or raise your voice. Let's look at each method in detail. We'll start with positive reinforcement in dog training.

The method of positive reinforcement

Also the method of positive reinforcement is entirely based on praise, treats, etc., you should keep being strict and patient during the training.
The biggest misconception about the method of positive reinforcement is that you spoil the dog. But it is not so. The essence of the method is praising the dog when it is doing something right, and showing how to do right if it is doing something wrong. Example: you come home and find your doggie chewing your slipper.You do not shout at it, but you say a strict "No", and take the slipper away. Then you give your dog a bone or a toy, indicating that this is what it CAN chew. So you do not praise a pet for chewing a slipper, you show what to do instead.
You encourage a good behaviour, repeating commands and giving the dog a reward when it obeys.
Using food as a praise conceals some pitfalls. Do not use food as a bribe. It is true, sometimes it should be used as a reward. But for commands like "sit" or "heel" food should be kept away. In these cases the dog should obey regardless of getting food and its main motivation should be desire "to do right thing". Sometimes food can be used to consolidate the material, but experts beleive that it is of utmost importance to gradually exclude food as reward from training process.
It is important to praise your dog only when it behaves properly, not when it looks at you with the eyes full of sorrow. Also, do not say "good girl" if the dog did not accomplish what was required.
You may think that it motivates to obey, but in fact the opposite is true.
This method, like the method of negative reinforcement, basically have a methodical approach. But it does not mean that every time the dog obeys you, you have to give it some reward. It is necessary to reduce the number of rewards and sometimes just to say "well done". It is not good to give the dog a reward too often for it not to expect reward for every correct action, and to stop obeying when the treats are not there. Your goal is to teach your dog to obey commands and not to wait for treats. An important rule in teaching: first praise the dog out loud, and only then give a treat. Let it first rejoice because of your words, and only then because of treats. The dog must obey you, not the treats.
As to the food: while using the method of positive reinforcement you may face a serious problem - weight gain. As a rule, the dog owners do not take into account how much the dog ate as a "reward", and use a very high-calorie food as treats, such as cheese. This leads to the fact that the dog receives an excessive number of calories per day.
Use treats that are offered specifically for dog training (these may be dried pieces off lights, etc.)  
Use small portion of your dog's daily diet (for example some pert of dry food per day)
Use low-calorie food - apples, carrots, boiled chicken.
Try to replace food with usual praise. And, to maintain balanced weight it is extremely good to include exercise into your daily training plan.
To conclude we'd like to warn you: if your dog has serious behavioral problems, better consult a professional, do not ignore them and do not try to solve these by yourself.

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