How to reward your dog when training
Any dog has their favorite treats and preferred demonstrations of physical affection. Some dogs love a scrap of dried liver; others just aren’t ‘chow hounds’ and prefer to be rewarded with a quick play with a favourite toy, or through some physical affection. You know your dog best and can easily choose the best reward.
Most dogs really like having the lowest part of their back, just before the tail starts scratched gently or having their chests rubbed or scratched. Try the ears too: gently rub the ear flap between your thumb and finger, or scratch gently at the base.
It’s certainly not hard to figure out what your dog likes. A little experimentation will soon show you the food treats she really goes nuts for. One interesting thing to bear in mind, is that dogs actually respond most reliably to training commands when they receive treats intermittently. It seems to keep dogs more interested in what might be on offer and prevents them getting bored of the food rewards.
How to correct your dog meaningfully
Positive reinforcement training doesn’t require you to do anything that feels cruel or harsh. You need any complex, weighty correctional theories, or be required to hand out harsh punishments.
Basically with positive reinforcement training, all you have to do is ignore behavior you don’t want repeated. Denying attention by deliberately ignoring her is enough to make your dog pretty miserable, and is a powerful correctional tool. Most dog trainers today believe we should ignore incorrect responses to a training command – that, with no reinforcement from us the dog will stop the behavior on her own accord. Negative attention – like verbal corrections – counts as reinforcement. For some dogs, negative attention is better than no attention at all. The bigger the fuss you make when she gets it right, the clearer she will see the difference between behavior that elicits no response at all, and behavior that results in massive amounts of positive attention from you.
Hopefully this has given you a good basic insight of the attitudes and techniques to use when training your dog. One excellent resource is Secrets to Dog Training: the ultimate training and knowledge database for dog owners. Focusing on preventing and dealing with problem behaviors, as well as obedience work and ‘tricks’, Secrets to Dog Training covers a wide variety of topics in great detail – all round, an invaluable manual for dog owners everywhere.
Check out Secrets to Dog Training here.