Did you know that positive reinforcement can be one of the most effective ways of training your dog? It can be an easy habit to always scold your dog when he misbehaves, but in actuality, focusing more on rewarding good behavior can have a much greater impact. Here are a few tips to help encourage great behavior from your pooch!
Always reward immediately
Part of the idea of positive reinforcement is to give your dog immediate positive attention as soon as they do what you want. That way, he will feel encouraged to do it again. Praise him, talk to him happily with excitement, and give him lots of pets. And of course, when appropriate, reward with a training treat.
Ignore bad behavior
One of the other pieces of the puzzle is to reward good behavior, but ignore the behavior you don’t want. Dogs crave attention from you, and if doing a certain behavior results in you ignoring him, he’ll quickly learn to do the things that you respond to instead.
Make it a game
Have fun with your dog. Remember, your excitement and enthusiasm is contagious. Your dog will pick up on it and will want to play with you. You and your pooch can engage in fun exercise and activities together, while you’re training him simultaneously.
Keep it short and sweet
A dog’s attention span is not super long – so if you make your training sessions too lengthy, he’ll likely lose focus and you’ll both get frustrated. Instead, keep it fun and short. Be excited to work with him and stay calm and focused yourself. That way you’ll both be able to spend some quality time together while you work on the training.
Don’t forget, learning new things isn’t easy for anyone, so be patient with your little guy! He’s doing the best he can and only wants to please you. So be sure to give him lots of encouragement when he makes the right choices, but also show him love and forgiveness when he makes mistakes. It won’t take long at all for him to start figuring out what it is that you’re wanting!
Positive reinforcement isn’t just for training sessions. You need to be using it regularly, every single day, throughout the day, every time he does what you ask. Example, if you ask him to come, and he comes right to you on the first command, that deserves a big scratch behind the ear and a “good boy!” If you ask him to stay by the door instead of bolting, and he does, don’t forget to praise him! It’s these little things that will really help reinforce his good behavior and will keep everything fresh in his mind!