30 Best Positive Training Tips
By Sloan McKinney
If you watch your dog misbehave over and over, you’re probably thinking it’s time to enroll her in some sort of training class. After all, you can only watch her ignore your commands for so long before you begin to wonder which of you is actually running the show.
However, there’s no need to rush to the professionals. Consistently using positive training techniques at home can have an quick and lasting affect on your dog’s behavior. By using positive reinforcement with your dog, you’ll be able to teach her to associate training successes with positive feelings. Additionally, continuing that positive reinforcement into the future will make the training successes stick with her for a longer amount of time, until good manners eventually becomes a habit.
To sum it up, there are lots of positive reinforcement techniques you can use with your dog during training. Try a few different methods until you find the best ones that work well for you and your dog. And always remember:
- Positive attitude. Before beginning a training session, make sure you are carrying a positive attitude. If you’re hesitant or frustrated, the dog will pick up on the negative attitude you have, leading to a greater chance of failure. If you’re in a positive frame of mind, the dog will be more relaxed, increasing the chances of success.
- Short and sweet. When working on the commands outside the training class, keep the practice sessions short. Training should be fun for both of you, and overly extensive training sessions will end up being torturous. If your dog is struggling with a particular command, working on it for several more minutes continuously probably won’t help the situation. Come back to the troublesome command later.
- Praise. Verbal praise works well for keeping your dog on task during training and for marking successes. Just be sure that you use the same praise words each time so he doesn’t become confused.
- Treats. Most dogs are motivated by food, so give your dog small treats when he is successful with a command. Provide the treat immediately to ensure he associates the successful command with the treat. If you have large sized treats, break them into smaller pieces to make sure he doesn’t gain weight during training. However, make sure you know any and all allergies or aversions that your dog may have to certain foods, to ensure the treat is a reward and not, unbeknownst to you, a punishment.
- Using toys. If your dog isn’t motivated much by treats, consider giving her a favorite toy instead each time she exhibits the desired behavior.
- Physical contact. Once your dog has learned the desired behavior, you can slowly remove the treats from the equation and simply reward him with petting and verbal praise.
Remember that all of these positive reinforcement ideas will work better and stick with your dog longer if you remain consistent.
Sloan McKinney is a journalist based in Southern California. After writing about pop culture for a number of years, she has recently begun writing for a new audience. Inspired by DeAnthony, her cat, as well as her dog Max, Sloan now hopes to help other pet owners guarantee their animal companions happy and healthy lives.
Tagged Dog Training, Infographic, positive reinforcement, Sloan McKinney