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Training Your Dog with Treats and Praise

Friday, 29 October, 2010

Positive reinforcement is, simply put, giving your pet something pleasant or rewarding immediately after a “good” or desired behavior. It makes the rewarded behavior more likely to happen again and again.

Good timing is essential when using positive reinforcement. The reward must occur immediately, or your pet may not associate it with the proper action. For instance – if you have your dog “sit,” but reward him after he’s already stood up, the little guy will think he’s been rewarded for standing up.

Consistency is the key to your pet learning commands. Everyone in your household should use the same words. A good idea might be to post the commands on your fridge. Some good examples of command words:

  • Watch me
  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Down
  • Off
  • Stand
  • Heel
  • Leave It
  • Settle

While every animal is different, positive reinforcement can include things such as food treats, praise, petting or brief play. Food treats tend to work best, but try out different techniques to learn which is best for your pooch. Small, soft food treats work best so that the pet doesn’t get distracted and place the food on the ground to continue eating the treat – the goal is to keep your pet’s attention on you and the task at hand. Each time you reward, say something like “good sit” or “good stay” in a cheerful voice.

As time progresses, you can give treats for every other good command until you wean him away from constant praise.