Trying to choose the right method to train your dog can feel overwhelming. What your dog learns is important, but how they learn matters too.
Most trainers and veterinarians agree that the safest and most humane choice is positive reinforcement. Also known as reward-based training, it's a method that’s safe and effective for dogs of all ages.
Reward-based training uses treats or play to acknowledge your dog’s good behaviour and removes them in the case of bad behaviour. It's a humane way to work with your dog and it doesn’t use force, physical punishments or raising your voice.
The type of reward you use during training depends on what motivates your dog. While acknowledging good behaviour with verbal praise is important, during the early stages of training most dogs need some sort of tangible reward. Nearly every dog appreciates treat training, like using pieces of chicken or cheese, but play-motivated dogs might also love a game of fetch as an acknowledgement of a good job.
Unlike traditional training, which focuses on correcting your dog when they do something wrong, positive reinforcement training focusses on acknowledging when they do something right. This shift removes any stress and fear during the training process.
Reward-based training also provides important enrichment. Since your dog will be an active participant in the training process, they’re more likely to use their problem-solving skills and think of creative ways to work through challenges. This type of engagement ensures they have fun throughout the training process.
It is also a great way to improve the bond between you and your dog. Because reward-based training is collaborative and conflict-free, dogs trained with this methodology thrive. Acknowledging your dog for correct behaviour and avoiding unnecessary corrections helps dogs understand how to make the right choices more often.
Dogs of all ages, breeds and temperaments can be successfully trained using reward-based training. It’s an amazing tool for teaching your dog new behaviours as well as addressing unwanted behaviours.
Want to get going on training your dog?