This week we have a guest article written and provided by Joe of Best Dog Crates and Beds. Best Dog Crates and Beds is a leading resource in dog training tips, advice, and dog product reviews. Follow them on Twitter @BDogCratesNBeds.
Some people believe that positive reinforcement dog training does not work as well as aversive or punishment training. There are a lot of dog training methods that you can use and aversive training is one of them, but there are quite a few drawbacks with this method.
The Problems With Aversive Dog Training
It is true to say that aversive training can work in some situations but it is not regarded as one of the best dog training techniques for every type of dog and their owners. Timing is crucial with aversive training and it is unlikely that the majority of dog owners will be skilled enough to get this right.
If the right level of punishment is not applied then it is likely that your dog will soon become immune to weaker levels of punishment that you inflict upon them. They will toughen up quickly and most owners will not want to increase the level of punishment.
Using punishment techniques will increase the stress levels of your dog and this is not conducive to learning that they have done something wrong. Your dog will just react in a certain way and this could even lead to biting.
Dishing out punishment to dogs is also going to increase the stress levels of owners and this will intensify if the punishment does not correct the problem straight away. Increasing your stress levels and your dog’s is unlikely to help build a close bond between you.
What Is Positive Reinforcement Dog Training?
Positive dog training is all about providing a reward to your dog when they do something that pleases you and ignoring anything that they do which doesn’t please you. The rewards can include praising your dog, providing treats or going for walks and playing games with them.
You can use a “clicker” to indicate a positive situation and let your dog know that you are happy with their behavior and that a treat is to follow. These clickers are inexpensive and available in pet stores. They are not essential for positive reinforcement training.
6 Benefits Of Positive Training For Dogs
There are many benefits of positive reinforcement dog training and here are the most important ones:
1) It Will Improve Communication With Your Dog
Communicating clearly with your dog is essential and will help your dog to understand when they are doing the right things as they will receive a reward for this. Your dog will be a lot more willing to repeat these good behaviors because they know there will be a reward coming.
A common problem for dog owners is when their dog urinates in the home. If you use a punishment strategy here your dog will probably link urinating in the home when you are there as something that will cause them pain. But it probably will not stop them doing it when you are not around.
With a positive approach you will focus on rewarding your dog when they urinate outside of your home. Every time that your dog goes to the bathroom outside you can give them a lot of love and treats for this to reinforce the behavior.
In this way your dog links pleasure to urinating outside and will be eager to let you know that they need to go outside and urinate. You will have successfully communicated with your dog that outside is the place to use the bathroom.
2) You Will Develop A Stronger Bond With Your Dog
Most dog owners want their dogs to be true companions and part of the family and positive dog training will help to achieve this. Your dog will learn to trust you more and more and the relationship between the two of you will become much stronger.
If you are continually punishing your dog there will be negativity in the relationship but if you are rewarding good behavior then your dog will enjoy being in your company much more and will be a lot happier.
3) It Can Be Used For Several Behavior Issues
If your dog is aggressive or fearful in certain situations then punishment training can make the situation worse. These behavior problems (and many others) have a greater chance of being corrected with positive reinforcement training.
4) The Whole Family Can Be Involved
Positive dog training is fairly easy to do and this means that even children can be involved with the providing of treats when your dog behaves in the right way. This activity should be supervised by an adult at first.
5) It Can Burn Off A Lot Of Energy
If your dog is bored and has a lot of pent up energy then they are more likely to do something bad like chew the furniture or dig up your garden. Positive training can help them release this energy and learn good behaviors at the same time.
6) Positive Reinforcement Training Is Fun
If you approach the positive dog training sessions as “playtime” then it can be a lot of fun for you and your dog. Your dog will really look forward to the training sessions as they will know that rewards will follow and they will be keen to learn new things.