It’s widely accepted among the vast majority of dog training experts that the most effective and humane way to train your dog is through a process called positive reinforcement training.
Use of positive reinforcement entails rewarding the behavior that you wish to see repeated, and ignoring the behavior that you don’t.
Positive reinforcement works with your dog. Her natural instinct is to please you – the theory of positive reinforcement recognizes that lessons are more meaningful for dogs, and tend to “stick” more, when a dog is able to figure out what you’re asking under her own steam (as opposed to, say, learning “down” by being forced repeatedly into a prone position, while the word “down” is repeated at intervals).
When you use positive reinforcement training, you’re allowing her the time and the opportunity to use her own brain.
- Use meaningful rewards. Food treats and physical affection
- Use the right timing. – When your dog obeys a command, you must mark the behavior that you’re going to reward – Use your “Happy Voice” with a big GOOD GIRL or a use Clicker. (so, if asking a dog to sit, you’d click the clicker just as the dog’s bottom hits the ground). This will mark the behaviour and she will know she’s done something right and a treat will be forthcoming.
- Be consistent with your training commands. So, when training your dog to not jump up on you, you wouldn’t ask her to “get off”, “get down”, and “stop jumping”, because that would just confuse her; you’d pick one phrase, such as “No jump”, and stick with it.
- PRACTICE: Dog’s learn through consistent repetition, the actions associated with a particular phrase,
The great thing about positive reinforcement training is that it doesn’t require you to do anything that might go against the grain. You won’t be called upon to put any complex, weighty correctional theories into practice, or be required to undertake any harsh punitive measures.
Not getting any attention (because you’re deliberately ignoring her) is enough to make just about any dog pretty miserable, and thus is a powerful correctional tool.
One excellent resource for dog training is Secrets to Dog Training: the ultimate training and knowledge database for dog owners.
With a focus on preventing and dealing with problem behaviors, as well as obedience work and ‘tricks’, Secrets to Dog Training covers a vast variety of topics in minute detail – all round, an invaluable manual for dog owners everywhere. You can check out Secrets to Dog Training by clicking on the link below: