What is Positive Dog Training?
It is a gentle, yet effective approach to training—a modern science-based alternative to punitive “traditional” training. Often referred to as “force-free” training, it is based on the psychology of how an animal learns. The philosophy focuses on encouraging and rewarding a dog’s good behavior. It also emphasizes having a well-mannered dog over having an “obedient” dog. Positive dog training allows a dog to be a dog!
What Positive Dog Training is not…
It does not rely on “quick fixes”. There’s no use of force, intimidation, control, nor corrective tools such as shock collars (aka e-collars), choke or prong collars. Positive dog training is not about dominance or being the “alpha” or “master.” However, it’s also not about being permissive or spoiling dogs—it’s simply teaching them what to expect in a kind way.
Gently Guide Your Dog to Better Behavior
Why wait for your dog to make a mistake and correct him after the fact? Focus on what your dog is doing right and reward him for it! Dogs are highly opportunistic and tend to repeat behaviors that they have been rewarded for. Anything that your dog loves can be used as a reward. This includes food, praise, belly rubs, toys, interactions with you, playing with other dogs, or going outside.
Dogs are like children in many ways. They need us to provide guidance to understand what is acceptable behavior inside and outside of our homes. They can’t read our minds! Like children, we need to establish boundaries and guidelines for our dogs, as well as rewards and consequences for behavior. For example, you might expect your child to finish eating dinner before getting dessert or to finish her homework before watching TV. Similarly, you might have your dog sit and wait while you put his food bowl down, or before you take him outside.
Consequences need not be harsh in any way! If your dog jumps, and you don’t like it, turn your back and walk away. You don’t need to yell or push him, which actually may excite him even further.
Positive dog training can build your dog’s confidence level and foster a happy, eager attitude towards learning. It can enhance the relationship and strengthen the bond between dogs and humans because it’s based on trust and cooperation. Also, since brute force isn’t needed, anyone including a small child or senior adult can train a dog through positive reinforcement!
Refrain From Pain, Train Humane!