The do’s and don’ts of training your dog
Dogs are a great source of excitement and joy in our lives, but a good training program is essential for preventing unwanted behaviors from causing problems both for you and your pet.
The foundational training your dog should learn is how to walk with a lead. It also includes developing their recall and responding to simple commands like ‘ sit and stay.’ These commands will help you and your dog to live together more easily. Training your dog is not only a necessity but can be a great way to bond and build a relationship.
By establishing the foundations of rewarding-based training, you can ensure that your dog is motivated to learn and develop good behaviors.
Reward-based training focuses on rewarding dogs for the desired behavior and ignores (but does not punish) unwanted behaviors. This is different from other types of exercise like ‘aversion training’, which punishes dogs for undesirable behaviors and can cause stress to your dog.
Dog training that uses rewards is most effective and humane. It allows you to work with your dog’s natural behavior and reinforce them using positive reinforcement.
In rewards-based training, the ” rewards” can be a tasty snack, a game with their favorite chew toy, or a simple ‘good boy/girl’ and pat.
What does reward-based training look like in reality? If your dog has a habit of jumping to greet people, this could be an example. If you use aversive training methods, like putting your leg up when your pet jumps, it’s unlikely that this will change the behavior. It could even cause your dog to jump further away in order to avoid your knee.
If you use a reward-based method of training, you will focus on rewarding your pet when she does not jump and ignore her jumping (including eye contact). If your dog jumps, you will miss her and wait until all four of her paws are on the ground before rewarding her.
It would be best if you only rewarded your dog when she has all four feet on the ground. Your dog will soon learn that standing or sitting is what’s being rewarded and will begin to do the behavior you desire.
Instead of punishing your dog, which will likely cause confusion and stress and is unlikely to produce a positive outcome, rewards-based dog training creates positive patterns of behavior by rewarding your dog’s right actions.
You and your dog will enjoy your time together if you have patience and use the right rewards.
Check with your local RSPCA if there are puppy schools in your area.
Consult a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist if you are experiencing unwelcome behaviors in your dog.