5 Simple Steps to Positive Reinforcement Dog Training

Follow these 5 essential steps to use positive reinforcement to make training your dog faster, easier, and more effective.

Training your dog is an essential part of pet ownership which is thought to be harder than it really is. Many dog owners attempt to train their dogs by punishing them for not obeying a command instead of using positive reinforcement. By understanding how your dogs perceive our actions, training them will become far more simple, fast, and effective. Following these five simple steps will make dog training more time effective and simple.

1. Clearly Illustrate Your Command

The first step in dog training is making it clear what you’re asking. Since your dog can’t understand every word you say, you need to illustrate what exactly the command means. As an example, if you’re training your dog to sit, give the command, then gently nudge their rear end to the ground. It may sound strange, but having a second person imitate the desired behavior by going on their hands and knees and sitting can help communicate your expectations. After giving the human the command to sit (and them illustrating it properly) reward them with a treat. Next, give the same command to the dog. It should only take a few tries before they catch on.

2. Begin Rewarding Good Behavior

It’s crucial to remember that dogs live in the moment and don’t have the memory or attention span of a human. That means whenever your dog exhibits a desirable behavior, you reward them with either treats or affection. It’s important that you don’t give in to the puppy eyes and only give your dog a treat when they’ve followed a command or exhibited the right behavior.

3. Finding The Right Treat

In order to actually get your dog excited about training, use treats that your dog loves and doesn’t have on a regular basis. Treats should be accompanied by overwhelming praise and enthusiasm, especially the first few times the dog is successful. By making training rewards the most enjoyable, your dog will be more willing to learn new commands. Training with positive reinforcement only works when you make the reinforcement extremely positive. In addition to showering them with verbal praise, also rub their head and give them treats so they’ll quickly catch on to the learning process.

4. Repetition and Consistency

The next vital step in dog training is using repetition and consistency, repeating the same commands over and over. Continue rewarding your dog with positive reinforcement while ensuring they hear the new word frequently enough to recognize it. This repetition is the key to your dog learning that this new command will be consistently rewarded. If there are others in the household, make sure they also follow along with the training and maintain the same consistency. Dogs are able to quickly sniff out the weak link in the training process.

5. Begin Weaning Off The Treats

Once you’ve praised your dog the first 10 to 15 times, begin to slowly decrease your level of enthusiasm whenever your dog successfully completes a command. Begin interchanging positive reinforcement like “good boy/girl!” with treats so they eventually get the point that they’re doing an excellent job. After your dog has mastered their first command, start from the beginning of this process with the next on your list. It won’t take long before your dog will be the most obedient one on the block.