Praise & Treats: The Major Advantages of Positive Reinforcement in Training of Dogs
Time it correctly
Time is very important when it comes to the use of positive reinforcement as a training method for dogs. Firstly, the reward, whatever it might be, should come immediately, within few seconds. Otherwise, your dog might fail to associate it with the proper action, for which he has been rewarded.
Clicker training is another good tool to mark the time of the good behaviour. It can also improve the timing and help your dog connect the action with the behaviour. Once he hears the sound of the clicker, he will know that the reward will follow soon.
Using Positive Reinforcement to Train
Positive reinforcement can be used for various forms of dog training. Using positive reinforcement during crate training or potty training is usually a good idea. This will help him to shape his behaviour just like the way you want it.
You can also reward your dog for simple behaviours like learning to remain seated when you are opening the gates of your garden to let him out or even before coming in. But, make sure that you do not reward him for bad behaviours. For instance if you let him out, every time he starts barking, then he will get the wrong message.
Keep it Simple and Consistent
The rewards should be simple like praise or a treat that your dog likes. Often a pat along with a verbal praise of “Good Boy!” works well with dogs. Also, at the same time you can offer him treats like food or playthings he likes.
The treat you choose should be very enticing. It can be things that your dog actually loves. It should be simple and easily acceptable. Do not offer him something which he will take time to chew because it will beat the purpose of getting a quick reward. Also, do not bore him with the same treats over and over again. This might bring down the motivation level.
Shaping Desired behaviour
Positive reinforcement helps in the shaping of a good behaviour. In this way you can push him a bit every time he reaches the desired level or expected level of the behaviour, by increasing the amount of reward. Make sure that your furry buddy understands that the rewards are increasing each time he is getting a step closer of reaching the goal.
For instance, if you are planning on positively reinforcing the behaviour of shaking hands then you should start rewarding or parsing him when he first lifts his paws. Then you should help him shape his behaviour further more by rewarding a bit more when he touches your hand. After that increase the reward when he lets you hold on to his paw and finally giving him the ultimate reward once he actually learns to shake hands.
Positive reinforcement by means of giving rewards is certainly a good ploy. It helps your dog understand the things expected out of him and the things you desire him to do.
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