Though dogs are amazing animals and great friends, they don’t always behave the way we feel they ought to. While some people try to train dogs by using severe punishment, this is cruel and can lead to severe psychological harm. Positive reinforcement is much kinder and more effective. Here’s how it works:
- Basics of positive reinforcement: Since praise and food are two of a dog’s favorite things, positive reinforcement basically uses a combination of praise and tasty treats to reward a dog when it does something right. For example, when a dog sits when you ask him to sit, say “good job” and reward him with a treat. Before long, he’ll begin to associate the word “sit” with positive results, and sitting will become a habit.
- Timing: To successfully train your dog, it’s imperative that you give treats at exactly the right time. If you give your dog a treat when he does something bad, you’re encouraging that behavior and he’ll likely repeat it. Instead, give your dog a treat when he rolls over, sits, comes, or behaves himself at the veterinarian’s office.
- Consistency: Another important part of ensuring that your dog actually learns the correct behavior is to be consistent with your praise and rewards. Be sure to give your dog a treat every single time he sits on command, or else he’ll become frustrated. Once you feel as though he’s got a handle on it, begin slowly reducing the amount of treats you give him until you get to zero—by then he’ll have formed the habit and will no longer need treats.
To keep your pet happy and healthy, take him to a quality veterinarian whenever he’s sick. At Gully Animal Hospital, our veterinarians are highly experienced when it comes to routine care, emergency care, and surgery. Call (817) 756-6733 today—we’re eager to meet your pet!