Positive Dog Training Techniques

Positive dog training techniques are a safe and effective method for teaching your dog basic manners and modifying undesirable behaviors. These training methods utilize motivators that the dog finds rewarding to create good behavior and reliable performance.

How Does Positive Dog Training Work?

Positive reinforcement dog training utilizes a praise and reward system to teach a dog to exhibit desirable behaviors. It allows the dog to earn the things he wants without coercion and punishment on the part of the dog owner. Because this method of learning is rewarding and fun you and your dog will enjoy training and will make progress quickly.

Getting Started

The first step in implementing positive dog training is figuring out what motivates your dog. Most dogs enjoy praise and food, but there are also other things that dogs find rewarding. You can offer play, car rides, going outside, coming into the house and going for walks as rewards for your dog. Once you know what your dog likes, you will have a variety of ways to reward him for good behavior.

Basic Manners

Using positive dog training methods to teach basic manners is relatively simple. The most important part of this training is that you and anyone else who handles the dog must be consistent. Each person must always use the same command words when working with the dog. Create a vocabulary for basic obedience behaviors—sit, down (means to lay down), stay, come, let's go and off (no jumping, stop touching) is a good start. Once you have decided which words to assign to a behavior you can begin to teach him the associated behaviors. Each time your dog successfully performs a command, say "yes" and promptly give him a treat. When he is consistently performing for food treats you can begin asking him for behaviors before he is allowed to have other things. For instance, you can ask your dog to perform a sit and stay before he is allowed to have his food bowl or before going out for a walk. Doing this will allow you to have many small training sessions with your dog every day.

What to Do When It Isn't Working

If your dog does not seem to want to perform, there are several things you should consider before you give up. Take a look around to see if there is a distraction nearby that is more rewarding to your dog than the treat you are using. It is difficult to compete with the neighbor's cat when you are teaching your dog to come to you. Either use a higher value treat, or remove your dog from the distraction. Your dog may be bored, if you have been working for longer than 10 minutes, your dog may want to move on to another activity or earn a different type of reward. Take a break and play with your dog for a few minutes. If your dog is not bored or distracted, you may be asking him to do something that he does not understand. Be sure you are using the same cues and body language that he is familiar with.