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Positive Dog Training

  • If you would like your new dog to be a happy, well behaved member of the family, you are going to need to do some training.  The best type of training is Known as positive dog training.  This form of training is most often recommended by the experts because it's not only effective in teaching the dog how to behave properly but also increases the bonding between the two of you.

    Positive dog training incorporates two primary concepts-associative learning and positive reinforcement.  Associative learning basically conditions the dog to expect one thing to happen whenever a certain behavior is exhibited.  Positive reinforcement is the concept of rewarding appropriate behaviors.  Rather than punishment, positive dog training hinges on consequences and conditioning.

    One of the most famous animal experiments in all of history was that of Pavlov's dogs.  He would ring a metronome every time he fed the dogs.  After a while, the dogs would start salivating every time they heard that tone, without having to see or smell actual food.  The sound had become associated with the experience of eating in the dogs minds.  This is a prime example of associative learning.

    Positive reinforcement is the act of rewarding appropriate behaviors while ignoring any inappropriate behaviors.  The reward should be the same thing all the time and could be a favorite toy, a belly scratch or a welcome treat.  Usually food works the best so most trainers use a treat like a dog biscuit or a liver snap, but whatever works best for your dog will be fine.

    Another important factor in dog training is showing your dog who is the alpha in your relationship.  In the wild, canines typically live in packs of several animals of both sexes.  One male is always the leader, or alpha dog.  This is the one that shows dominance over the rest of the pack and the other dogs are submissive towards the alpha.  Now that dogs are domesticated, they still need an alpha and if you don't assert yourself in that position, your dog probably will.

    Dominance in the dog world doesn't have the negative connotations that it often does in human society.  It simply means to be the one in charge.  In a dog's world, somebody has to be the boss and trust me; you don't want your dog thinking it's him!  That is what leads to poorly behaved dogs.

    You will need to remember to use simple commands and accompanying hand gestures while training your dog.  Even though Fido might seem to be listening, he really doesn't understand most of what you say.  Dogs sometimes seem to know what you're saying because they are so good at reading tones, expressions and body language. 

    Those who teach dog obedience classes or other dog training classes will tell you that dog training is also people training at the same time.  The human alpha needs to learn the proper way to communicate with his dog just as the dog needs to learn how to behave as you want him to. 

    As with children, sending the dog mixed messages will only confuse him and make it more likely that your dog will exhibit undesirable behaviors.  One example of this would be giving your dog an old shoe to play with and chew on, but then expecting him to know that you don't want the rest of your shoes destroyed as well.


Comments

11 comments
  • Moo Moo
    Moo Moo This is great! I wish everyone trained their dogs by using positive praise instead of negative punishment. It is hard to ignore bad behavior but it will work. If you show your dog how happy you are when they do something good, they will want to do something good.
    May 23, 2012
  • Kayla Lew
    Kayla Lew I love the line - Someone has to be in charge and you don't want your dog thinking it's him. That is great! I love this blog! I have seen so many people yelling at their dogs (or worse), what really are they teaching their dog? I can see how positive prai...  more
    May 23, 2012
  • tiddles junior
    tiddles junior I had great success training my puppy. I do think that some dogs take to training better than others and you really do have to work with your pet.
    May 29, 2012
  • Mavis Bedford
    Mavis Bedford I've used positive dog training with my two dogs and had great success. They respond very well to it and I couldn't ask for better behaved dogs.
    June 8, 2013

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