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Positive Reinforcement Training Techniques

Positive reinforcement training makes learning fun for dogs and can be easily practiced from home! Keep in mind that timing is everything - the reward your dog receives for practicing a desired behavior must be given immediately. Delaying rewards will lead to confusion and slowed learning. Remember to find what motivates your dog and what they find most rewarding. Your dog’s favorite reward could be a toy, treat, praise and attention from you, or even something else! Rewards and their importance to your dog can change throughout the day and you can use this to your advantage! Does your dog really want to go out the backdoor to go into the yard? You can use the door opening as a reward for your dog sitting and waiting patiently to go out.

Another thing to keep in mind when using positive reinforcement techniques is to keep your signals for the desired behaviors as short as possible. For example, simple one-word signals such as "sit", "down", and "stay" will have a larger impact on your dog's ability to understand them than speaking entire sentences. Combining these one-word signals with body language will also help your dog to better understand what behaviors you are teaching them because dogs are visual learners. Some other simple verbal signals also include: 

·  drop it / leave it

·  up

·  come

·  heel

·  watch

It is important to know that dogs are always learning and that we can accidentally teach them unwanted behaviors. A great example of this “accidental dog training” is if you let your dog outside every time they bark at the door. This teaches your dog that the more they bark the more they get to go outside which can lead to increased barking! Always pay attention to what behaviors you are rewarding.

The Importance of Consistency

Positive reinforcement training requires consistency. Make sure everyone in your household is on the same page and that you fit in short training sessions on a regular basis (even just a couple minutes at a time is great!). It is recommended to seek out a dog training professional to assist with consistency and technique.  

At Biscuits Doggie Daycare and Pet Resort in Tacoma, positive reinforcement training is used to help teach our dogs to make good decisions and reduce unwanted behaviors. Day training, private lessons, and consultations are available at Biscuits Doggie Daycare to help you and your dog on your training journey!

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