Using Positive Reinforcement for Dog Training

Using Positive Reinforcement for Dog Training

Training your dog is an essential, and sometimes challenging, part of his puppy days. However,  using positive reinforcement can be a highly effective tactic during training sessions. Just as us humans like to be congratulated when we’ve done a good job on something, dogs react especially well to a little praise. It is fairly simple to use this tactic with your dog, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind in order for it to be successful. Use this guide for your next training session and see how your puppy responds!

Timing is key

It’s important to keep in mind that dogs have a short attention span. Because of this, the reward needs to be immediately following the action that you are happy with. This will allow them to associate the positive reaction with the specific behavior and they will likely remember it next time. If you, for example, wait until you go home to give them a treat, they will not remember why they are getting the treat.

How often to give treats

If you do choose to give treats as positive reinforcement, it’s a fine line you walk with how many and when they should be given. Since the end goal is to get him to do the behavior on his own without a treat, you don’t want him to become reliant and only react when he sees treats. When your dog is first learning a behavior, use “continuous reinforcement,” rewarding him every time he does the behavior. Once he starts to learn the behavior, switch to intermittent reinforcement, only rewarding him every few times. Use a variable schedule of reinforcement, so that your dog doesn’t catch on and only respond when he knows a treat is coming. If you switch it up, he will learn that if he keeps repeating the behavior, eventually the treat will come.

Be consistent

One of the most important things you can do to make training painless for you and your dog is to be consistent. If you reward your dog from staying away from the table at dinner time, but then invite him to come and eat your scraps after dinner, you will cause confusion. Your dog doesn’t have the ability to know when dinner is over, so it is unfair to assume that he can differentiate when he is allowed vs. when he is not. Layout ground rules with your family and stick to them at all times.

Contact Argos Dog Training

Positive reinforcement can be highly effective when training your dog. If you need assistance or more tips and tricks, contact the experts at Argos Dog Training!