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Dog Training Methods

August 07, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

Dogs respond to two types of dog training methods: negative and positive. Here’s how to use both positive and negative reinforcement to train your dog appropriately.   

Just because we say the word “negative” doesn’t mean this is a horrible thing for your dog. It just means to teach your dog to behave appropriately to avoid something unpleasant. Many dogs respond immediately when you use a harsh tone, give a harsh look or simply turn away or look disappointed. These are all perfectly humane ways to respond to an inappropriate behavior like jumping, chewing, barking and other annoying behaviors. More serious behaviors could require the negative reinforcement of a bark collar for excessive barking, an electric fence collar for “escaping” the yard or the gentle use of choke collar for pulling on the leash. Appropriate negative reinforcement is only used as long as necessary to stop the behavior and it is used gently and with love.

Use of any of the following methods to train a dog is considered abuse:
  • Using a choke chain to pull the dog off his feet.
  • Pinch/Prong collars to yank the dog up off his feet.
  • Hitting, slapping or kicking.
  • Punishing long after the behavior or the command.
  • Anything that cause the dog to urinate or defecate out of fear.

Positive reinforcement, on the other hand, uses rewards and affection to teach a dog appropriate behavior, rather than force.  Dogs respond very quickly to these positive stimuli and try to repeat the behavior to get it as often as possible.  Positive reinforcement includes giving treats, verbal praise and physical affection every time your dog does the right thing.  It creates a strong bond between owner and pet and a great appreciation for how your pet learns and feels.

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