What is Positive Reinforcement Dog Training?
If you are new to dogs and don’t have any experience with dog training, it is understandable that some of the technical elements and terminology may be foreign to you. Positive reinforcement dog training applies to a variety of methods used by trainers to encourage behavior through a positive stimuli.
At Michael’s Pack, we fully believe in the power of positive reinforcement and never practice any negative reinforcement techniques. Negative reinforcement could include things like alpha rolls and shock collars which reinforce behavior by causing discomfort, a negative feeling for a dog.
What Rewards Should You Use For Positive Reinforcement?
Positive reinforcement training simply means finding ways to motivate your dog to behave in a certain manner. Every dog is different, so different motivating tools can be used depending on your dog. Some dogs have extremely high prey drive. Meaning, if it moves I want to chase it. A lot of the herding dog breeds have this drive, therefore the reward that can be used in training can be a tennis ball, for example. Other dogs, like terriers, have a very high level of curiosity. With dogs such as these, squeaky toys can be the positive motivator. Most puppies have a very high food drive. In that case, smelly high-value treats can serve as a positive reinforcer.
Play can also be a good way to reinforce behavior. A game of fetch or tug can be a powerful incentive for some dogs. The only thing that makes play a bit less effective than food is the amount of time and effort it requires to reinforce a single behavior.
Positive Reinforcement Over Negative Reinforcement
Not all trainers use positive reinforcement. Some use punishment or negative reinforcement. Much of the research out there points towards positive reinforcement being the best method for dog obedience. On top of that, positive reinforcement is better for the bond between a human and their dog. At the end of the day, you want your dog to behave, but also to have a happy and healthy relationship with you and your family. Positive reinforcement is the best way to accomplish this goal.