Do you need to do some dog training with your dog or puppy, but you don’t have a lot of time to spare and you want to do something that gets good results? Whether it’s for housetraining a puppy, teaching a dog not to pull on leash or jump up on guests, or for any of the many other training challenges that can come up when you live with a dog, do find out about the methods that use rewards for quick learning.
Dogs love it, and so their enthusiasm makes the training go faster. You can use a very small bit of food as a reward, and that is perhaps most common, but you can also use some friendly rubbing of your dog’s body in his favorite spots, or you could play ball together. What you use depends on what you have handy… anything the dog likes can be used as a positive reinforcement.
It’s up to you whether you even touch the dog or not during training of this sort. Because some dogs have been trained in very forceful ways, they may have become wary of your hands.
Says positive training pioneer Dr. Ian Dunbar, “I have always taught people to never touch a dog to force him to comply, but rather, to touch him afterwards as a reward if that’s what he enjoys.” Dr. Dunbar, a veterinarian turned dog trainer, founded the Association of Pet Dog Trainers which is an international organization of dog trainers committed to using positive reinforcement dog training methods. Dr. Dunbar was featured in a book by Cesar Millan, Cesar’s Rules.
Other well-known dog trainers agree. “Training a dog using dominance causes the dog to respond out of fear, which results in psychological problems for the dog, does not identify or solve the root problem, and ultimately damages the owner-dog relationship,” says dog trainer and star of the television show It’s Me or the Dog, Victoria Stilwell.
So back to you and your dog. What do you want to work on next? Does your dog need housetraining? Does he need to learn to walk nicely on a leash when you go out in public with him? Do you want to teach him to sit reliably, to stay until given a release word like “Okay!’ or to come when called? If you would like to try easy, enjoyable methods with your pooch, learn more about positive dog training.