Just like disciplining our human children, there’s never a need to strike an animal or give them any type of harsh, physical punishments when training. Instead, the Humane Society of the United States calls positive reinforcement training techniques “one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your dog's behavior.”
Rather than giving your pet negative attention for undesired behaviors, it’s more effective to reward them with praise or treats. These should always be associated with a short and simple command for the best results.
When it comes to using treats as a reward, be sure to phase these out of your training techniques and replace food with praise. If they become dependent upon food as a reward for good behavior, there are two dangers that exist with this continued practice:
- If they are only given treats for a desired result, they may not perform a certain task without this specific reward.
- Too many treats could lead to obesity, which carries the same health risks that humans face from being overweight.
Be careful not to accidently use positive training techniques to reward your animal for undesirable behaviors. For example, if you let your dog outside when he’s barking, you’re actually rewarding him for this type of unwanted behavior.
Drawing and Luring
Using treats as a lure or drawing a dog’s attention in order to get them to perform can be effective, like using food above their head while gently pushing down on their backside to get them to sit down. It’s important to also fade this type of technique out of your training practices for the same reasons as listed above.
To see thirty tips on using positive training techniques for your pet, check out this infographic. You’ll be saying “good dog” on many occasions while you’re training your best friend.
Written by Amber Kingsley