Positive Reinforcement Training
As a child you probably remember instances where you did something good and were rewarded for the action – good behavior, good grades, etc. The basics for training your dog really is not that much different. Although a bit different than a child, the positives that your dog will appreciate are attention and praise as well as food. You will use these things to encourage your pet to repeat the positive actions that you approve of and can be one of the most powerful tools that you have when training your dog for good behavior.
Here is some basic information that will help you successfully use positive enforcement training. Firstly, timing is so important! You want to immediately reward your dog for the positive behavior – they have very short memories and attention spans. Secondly, consider using a clicker to mark these behaviors that you want to encourage – this is helpful for the dog to make the connection between the positive behavior and the resulting treat.
Keep your commands as short and simple as possible. If you have not ever owned a dog and have observed others and their dog training commands you may have wondered why the commands are so short and simple…well, you are talking about a dog and no matter how smart they are there are limitations to what an average dog can learn. The typical sit, stay, down, leave it – they are used so often because they work and dogs can easily be trained to know their meanings.
Lastly you need to remember that consistency is the key to successful dog training. When the dog does something good, make sure you reward, make sure everyone in the family does this too as well as having everyone use the same commands. Also, make sure you are not inadvertently rewarding for bad behavior, for example. Your dog barks and barks, louder and louder so you let him out. This is a perfect example of rewarding bad behavior; instead require him to perform a good behavior for you before opening the door. If you try to think like a dog now and then, you just might end up with the best behaved dog on the block.