Ever been on the wrong end of a dog’s temper? Been training your dog and not seeing the results you want?
Listen, we’ve all been there.
What we’ve realized is that a lot of times, it comes down to the type of reinforcement you are using.
See, positive and negative reinforcement are two completely different things.
And each one is good for different situations.
In this blog post, we’ll explore positive and negative reinforcement dog training methods.
You’ll learn the difference between how to use positive reinforcement in your dog training routine, and tips for using negative reinforcement effectively.
We’ll also touch on what makes a good dog trainer and when to seek professional help with your dog’s training.
So, let’s get started!
The Difference Between Positive and Negative Reinforcement Dog Training
Positive reinforcement is defined as “the encouragement of desired behaviour by offering a positive consequence.”
It means adding something positive after your dog performs the desired behaviour.
This could be treats, petting, or verbal praise.
The goal is to increase the chances of your dog repeating the behaviour.
On the other hand, negative reinforcement is “the encouragement of desired behaviour by removing an unpleasant condition.”
In a nutshell, this means taking away something your dog doesn’t like after performing the desired behaviour.
An example would be removing your hand from their collar when they sit calmly.
The goal is also to increase the chances of your dog repeating the behaviour.
How To Use Positive Reinforcement In Dog Training Routines
Now that we know the difference between positive and negative reinforcement…
As mentioned, positive reinforcement is adding something positive after your dog performs the desired behaviour.
This type of training
has been proven to be highly effective simply because dogs can easily understand it.
Furthermore, positive reinforcement is a great way to build a bond between you and your dog.
The most common positive reinforcement is giving your dog a treat.
You can also use verbal praise or petting as positive reinforcement.
The key is to find what motivates your dog and use it to your advantage.
If your dog loves treats, then use treats as positive reinforcement.
If your dog doesn’t seem to care about treats, try using petting or verbal praise instead.
The important thing is to be consistent with your positive reinforcement.
Because if you only give your dog a treat sometimes, he may not understand that he is being rewarded for his behaviour.
You can practically train your dog to do anything using positive reinforcement.
For example, when it comes to potty training, you can use positive reinforcement to teach your dog to go potty outside.
Whenever they do it successfully, make sure to give them a treat or some verbal praise.
Eventually, they’ll make the connection that going potty outside is what gets them the reward.
That’s just one of the many examples of how you can use positive reinforcement in dog training.
Remember, the goal is to make your dog repeat whatever behaviour you’re trying to encourage.
So, be consistent with your positive reinforcement, and you’ll see the results you want!
Tips for Using Negative Reinforcement Effectively
Now let’s talk about how you can use negative reinforcement.
Negative reinforcement is getting rid of something your dog doesn’t like after they perform the desired behaviour.
Some of the examples include stopping a training session when your dog is behaving well or taking them for a walk after they’ve been good.
The goal is still the same: To increase the chances of your dog repeating the behaviour.
However, it’s important to use negative reinforcement sparingly.
If you use it too often, your dog will start to associate the undesirable behaviour with the positive outcome (i.e. getting to stop the training session or going for a walk).
This will effectively nullify the positive reinforcement you’re trying to achieve.
Which is why it’s crucial to use negative reinforcement correctly.
For example, if you’re trying to train your dog to stay off the couch, using negative reinforcement would involve saying “no” and removing them from the couch whenever they get on it.
However, if you were to remove them from the couch and then give them a treat, that would be positive reinforcement.
As you can see, it’s essential to know the difference between positive and negative reinforcement to use them correctly.
One common question we get asked is this… “Do Dogs Learn Better With Positive Or Negative Reinforcement?”
You see, both positive and negative reinforcement can be extremely effective in different situations.
For example, positive reinforcement is often used to teach new behaviours.
It is because it’s a great way to get your dog to understand what you want them to do.
On the other hand, negative reinforcement is often used to extinguish behaviours you don’t want. This could be things like barking, chewing, or jumping up on people.
You may notice that most trainers prefer positive reinforcement.
Although there are situations where negative reinforcement may be more effective, it should only be used as a last resort or if you are guided by a professional trainer.
The key is to find what works best for your dog and go from there!
If you’re not sure which type of reinforcement to use, positive reinforcement is always a good place to start!
Or, when in doubt, it is always best to seek professional help from your trusted dog trainers.
What Makes A Good Dog Trainer?
As a dog owner, it is vital to be able to train your dog effectively.
You can either decide to become a dog trainer yourself or hire a professional dog trainer.
Either way, there are certain qualities that make a good dog trainer.
Some of the most important qualities include being patient, having a positive attitude, being consistent, and having a lot of knowledge about dogs.
For example, if you were to become a dog trainer yourself, it would be cheaper and you would have a better bond with your dog since you’re the one training them.
However, becoming a good dog trainer takes a lot of time and patience.
Now, if you want to get this off your plate and hire a professional dog trainer, you need to ensure they have the qualities that make a good dog trainer.
We’ve mentioned earlier what these qualities are.
The first is being patient. As you probably know, every dog is different.
So great trainers know exactly that it takes time for dogs to learn new things.
Patience is key when training a dog because if you get frustrated, your dog will sense it, and the training session will be less effective.
The second quality is having a positive attitude.
This positive attitude will be contagious and can help your dog stay motivated during training.
If you have a positive attitude, your dog will be more likely to stay positive and learn the new behaviour more quickly.
Next is being consistent. It means having the same energy and enthusiasm for training every single day.
It also means using the same commands and praise every time, so your dog knows precisely what he did to earn the reward.
If you’re inconsistent with your training, your dog will get confused, and the whole process will take longer.
Last but not least, good dog trainers must have a lot of knowledge about dogs.
The goal of both positive and negative reinforcement is to increase the chances of your dog repeating the desired behaviour.
So it’s important to use each correctly so you don’t end up confusing your dog.
Again, it is best to seek professional help if you are unsure.
Getting guidance from a professional with the right qualities will help you get great results and make training your dog a fun process for both of you.
That’s a wrap!
We hope you found this blog post helpful.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!