At one time, dogs were trained through methods that involved dominance and punishment. Over the years, however, studies have shown that positive reinforcement methods tend to be far more effective. Let’s look at five simple steps for training your dog through positive reinforcement.
- 1) Start off by creating one-word commands for your dog. They can be any words of your choosing; however, you must be consistent. For example, if you want your dog to sit and your command word is ‘down,’ you can’t switch it the next time to the word ‘sit.’
- 2) When your dog follows your commands, give him or her a treat as well as verbal praise. Even if you’re handing out treats all day long, for the first few weeks, your dog needs to be rewarded for every good thing that he or she does.
- 3) Don’t be mean when your dog doesn’t follow commands and directions just as you expect him or her to. Training will take several weeks, perhaps even months. It’s always important that you keep your training sessions short as well as fun.
- 4) After a few weeks have passed and your dog is consistently following commands, begin backing off a bit on number of treats you give. After a couple of months, there shouldn’t be a need to give out treats, but giving your dog verbal praise is something that should always be given.
- 5) For every new command that you want your dog to learn, remember that positive reinforcement is the best training method to carry out. Not only does it help to teach your dog certain behaviors, but in addition it will help strengthen the bond between the two of you.