How To Train a Dog With Positive Reinforcement

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There is, however, ongoing discussion about how much, and how, dogs can learn by interacting with each other and with people. Your friends and all people in your inner circle should avoid taking actions towards your dog like- giving him/her treats or allowing/ prohibiting him/her things without consulting with you first. Even though these types of behaviors can appear aggressive, dog reactivity isn’t always directly equated with aggression. Reactive responses are often fear-based, and some reactivity can be due to frustration, like a leashed dog who wants to greet someone who is at a distance. However, untreated or longstanding reactivity can tip over into aggression, which is why it’s important to deal with these types of behaviors before they escalate.

Try to stick with one action per training session so your dog does not get confused. In order to effectively train your dog, it’s important that you have a plan. You will need to gather some equipment, set up a schedule, and learn a few things about training. You also need to be fully committed and prepared for a daily commitment.

Your dog will want to learn new things from you every day. When you are using reward-based training, your dog needs to understand that there are consequences for behaving in a way you don’t like. Here the consequences are to withhold their reward when they do something bad. E-collars are divisive in the dog training community, especially the ones which emit a shock. Also know that you will have to be involved in training your dog, but it doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of your day.

Read more about dog training here.

Apprentice With Other Dogs

During your training sessions, you may want to keep your dog on a leash at first until you’re confident it won’t run away or get aggressive. Most working dogs are now trained using reward-based methods, sometimes referred to as positive reinforcement training.

So, if you desire to be a dog trainer but your only credentials are owning or training your own dog, be aware that you have work to do. The 21st century has seen a dramatic increase in the adoption of reward-based training.

The model is based on a theory that “dogs are wolves” and since wolves live in hierarchical packs where an alpha male rules over everyone else, then humans must dominate dogs in order to modify their behavior. While the Koehler method has been used since 1962, some of the punishment procedures described in the book are now considered not necessary, humane, or appropriate by many trainers. These punishers include the use of a throw chain , electric shocks, slingshots, and suspending the dog off the ground. Dogs are capable of cognitive learning, which is distinct from conditioning methods such as operant and classical conditioning. Cognitive learning is a process wherein dogs acquire and process information, rather than develop conditioned responses to stimuli.

The use of punishment is controversial with both the humaneness and effectiveness questioned by many behaviorists. Furthermore, numerous scientific studies have found that reward-based training is more effective and less harmful to the dog-owner relationship than punishment-based methods. Dogs, same as humans, have different temperaments and some approaches work for them, while others prove themselves ineffective. In addition, you may need to reconsider the timing and the reinforcement rate during the process. In other words, you need to ensure that you reward your canine within 5 seconds from the moment he/she managed to perform the given command.

Clicker training

To ensure this, incorporate the crate into fun games where the pup goes in and out of the open crate at their own will. Flayton likes to throw the ball in the crate when playing fetch or hide treats inside for the dog to find. Your dog needs time outside the crate to play, eat, and use the bathroom. Dogs don’t want to soil where they sleep, but if there’s too long of a stretch without a walk, they might end up doing so. One of Flayton’s favorite tricks is giving the dog a KONG toy filled with peanut butter that she’s put in the freezer. “When they’re hanging out in the crate, they have something that stimulates them, but they have to work down the frozen peanut butter,” she says. It gets the dog used to being in the crate for a longer period of time, while also associating it with an enjoyable activity.

AKC Library & Archives

Now that you’ve worked with dogs and people, and taken the courses, you’re ready to jump into dog training. First, join a professional organization like theAssociation of Professional Dog Trainers.