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What is Positive Dog Training All About?

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

If you’ve been searching for a dog trainer near you, you may have stumbled across words like “positive dog training” or “positive reinforcement dog training.”


So what exactly do these words mean?


Positive reinforcement is an aspect of learning psychology that deals with rewarding good behavior to increase its frequency. For example, you may give your dog a yummy treat for sitting or a belly rub for coming when called.


A positive reinforcement dog trainer uses rewards to increase the frequency of good behavior. We focus on teaching dogs what we do want rather than correcting mistakes.


Scientific studies have shown that positive reinforcement training is the most effective training method for all sorts of issues. From young puppies learning how to behave, to fearful or reactive dogs, positive methods help foster a sense of confidence while also achieving lasting results.


How does positive reinforcement training work?


Our end-goal is to create intrinsic motivation for good behavior through positive associations. What this means is, we will use yummy treats, toys, games, and praise to build value for our dogs behaving in what we deem a desirable way. Over time, the positive associations our dogs have with these things will transfer over to the behavior itself, as well as to the trainer (you!)


Effective positive reinforcement training is so much more, though. A good positive trainer will be able to teach you how to structure your dog's life in a fulfilling, fun, enriching way that brings out the best in your dog. We believe in cultivating trust and communication in the relationship between you and your dog. With an effective positive trainer, you will learn how to communicate with your dog in a scientifically-proven "language" they understand, as well as how to listen and respond to your dog!


Does positive reinforcement training work for behavioral issues?


Yes indeed! An effective positive trainer will be able to help you develop solutions to a number of behavioral issues, including aggression, reactivity and anxiety, among other things. Our focus is always on creating confidence in the dog-human relationship, which is best accomplished through positive methods that instill security and reward good decision-making skills in our furry best friends without resorting to intimidation or coercion.


We will always take skill-building at you and your dog's pace. Positive reinforcement has an incredible success rate with behavioral issues, backed by scientific studies. However, our primary goal as humane canine care advocates is to ensure all dogs and humans we work with feel safe. For some anxiety-based behavioral issues, this will mean modifying your dog's lifestyle to set them up for success. These modifications work in tandem with positive reinforcement training to achieve a calmer, happier dog-- and typically calmer, happier pup parents as well!


Is treat-based training bribery?


No. Some old-school dog training methods suggest that our dogs should act a certain way because the trainer said so. A dog that doesn’t sit on command may be “corrected” until it sits.


Scientific dog training has pushed past the idea of “because I said so” being a good motivator for learning for any animal. It’s much more humane (and fun!) to focus on motivating our dogs with rewards rather than intimidation. This is imperative for a trust-based bond between you and your dog, as well.


What are the benefits to positive training?


Dogs trained with positive methods learn confidence and good decision making skills, which makes for a more calm, predictable member of your family.


We have found that using positive training is usually the safest way to achieve lasting results. Our focus isn't just on training, though. We aim to educate people on dog behavior and the best ways to communicate with and listen to their pups.


The human/dog relationship thrives when good, science-based training meets a deeper understanding of our dogs' needs and communication style.


Here at Pawsitive Direction LLC, we're always excited to be a part of that journey.

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