101 Dog Care Tips: Positive Reinforcement

webdog 1Although it is very hard to refrain from yelling at your dog or punishing them when they do something wrong, research has shown the positive reinforcement is a better, more productive approach.

Positive reinforcement includes giving your pet something pleasant or rewarding them immediately after she/he does something you want them to do. Positive reinforcement makes your pooch more likely to repeat that behavior in the future.  It is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your dog’s behavior.

Correct timing is essential when using positive reinforcement. The reward must occur immediately, within seconds, or your pet may not associate it with the behavior warranting the treat or praise.  For example, if you have your dog to stay, but reward them after they have already come towards you, they think they are being rewarded for coming towards you.

Consistency is also very important.  If you only reward them periodically, they will become confused and not know how to respond.  In addition, the treats that you give as a reward should be irresistible to your pet.  Something that is just okay will not be enticing for them to continue the behavior.  Treats like pieces of lamb weasand, Kangaroo treats, and Plato dog treats are great things to try, because we have found our pooches to think they are “irresistible”!

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