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Positive Training for Your Puppy

happy puppy

What is Positive Training?

Positive training is short for positive reinforcement training, this training style is the most recommended and scientifically backed way to train your puppy. Highly respected organizations such as the ASPCA recommended always following positive training. The way positive training works is by rewarding good behaviors repeatedly so that they are more likely to occur again. This has been studied and shown to be effective in many species of animals, including humans. You can imagine equating it to your pay check, you are essentially being rewarded for your work which in turn makes you continue to do your job. If the paychecks were to stop, you would likely stop working as well.

But with dogs, they will continue to work in the hopes of a reward. This may be as simple as you saying "good boy!" This is also why punishment based training is so ineffective long term. If you work on building a solid relationship with your puppy in the beginning through positive training, you'll see that even after the rewards stop coming, the behaviors continue to say strong.

smiling puppy outside

How Does Positive Reinforcement Training Work?

With positive training, you pick a marker word or sound to be your cue to your dog that they did a behavior correctly, then you reward them. You repeat this series of behaviors for each new skill you are teaching until the behavior is fluent, meaning it is reliable no matter the environmental factors. This in action looks like, "sit," the dog sits, you say "yes," then you give them a treat.

Some trainers will use clickers instead of a marker word but they still have the same effectiveness. The main downfalls to using a clicker is that they're usually not around when you need them. Either way, when you use a sound or word to "mark" the behavior, you are communicating to the dog that they did the right thing and reinforcement is on its way. This is how you can bridge the gap of time between when the dog does the behavior and when they eat the treat. This is the same way they teach dolphins in the zoo to do flips or tigers to stand on cue, it's all taught with positive reinforcement training.

puppy training outside

Why Puppy Training Needs to be Positive

Unfortunately, there are still companies and trainers out there who will recommend punishment based training instead of positive training. It's important that you're able to identify the type training your puppy will be receiving. Puppies who are trained through punishment based methods like shock collars or choke chains, are more likely to develop anxiety and aggression later on in life. This is because they are learning through negative association which can then be inadvertently tied to a person, place, or object. When you use pain and force to teach an animal, you create a huge risk of behavior issues down the road. These methods are outdated and have been debunked by many specialists in this area. But sometimes as a new pet parent it's hard to know whats right and wrong to do. If you need help with puppy training in Denver, contact us today to get started!


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