Have you ever heard people discuss positive dog training and wondered what it actually was, how it could help you and your dog, and if it was really all that different to other methods? Alana Stevenson explains all.
I am a positive trainer. I am opposed to the dominance/submission approach to training that is so popular today. I work with fearful and reactive dogs, and implement behaviour modification to help people humanely and successfully resolve their dogs’ behavioural problems. I am frequently asked how to establish oneself as “alpha” over a dog, or to teach a client to be a “boss” over her dog. Instead of teaching people to “dominate” their dogs, I teach them to understand how their dogs learn, and how to reinforce and reward wanted behaviours.
What Is Positive Dog Training?
Positive training means rewarding your dog for performing a behaviour you desire. When your dog exhibits a behaviour you like, you show your dog that you appreciate that behaviour by rewarding your dog. A reward is anything your dog may enjoy. Food, throwing a tennis ball, playing tug, giving your dog a massage, praising your dog, giving your dog a kiss, and running with your dog are all examples of rewards.
By rewarding your dog for performing a behaviour, your dog will want to repeat the behaviour again. By repeating the behaviour, your dog will get very good at practicing it. He will then exhibit that behaviour regularly without you having to reinforce it so often.
So, How Is Positive Training Different From Being “Dominant” Over A Dog?
Positive training is very different from the methods used by those following a dominance/submission approach to training. When people try to be dominant over dogs, they often employ harmful techniques that can be quite confrontational.
Good Advice For All Dog Owners
Be kind to your dogs. Exercise your dogs. Appreciate your dogs and reward your dogs for good behaviours. Do not yell at your dogs or bully them. Set your dogs up for success and manage problems early on instead of creating problems, or trying to undo problems you may have created. Teach your dog humanely, and both you and your dog will benefit!