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November 19, 2018 3 min read

Positive Reinforcement Training Using Natural Dog Treats

There are many benefits in training your dog with positive reinforcement.  First, it allows you to communicate clearly with your dog.  Using positive reinforcement to train your dog means you are rewarding the behaviors you like and ignoring the ones you don’t like. You decide what you want your dog to do, and let him know what you want by rewarding him when he does it. And when you reward your dog for doing things correctly, he's more likely to repeat those good behaviors. With this method, you can use natural dog treats, praises or life rewards such as games, walks or car rides to reward your dog’s good behavior. Another effective way of using positive reinforcement is clicker training, but it’s also possible to use rewards without the clicker.


Punishment, on the other hand, is not always so clear. A common problem occurs when dogs are punished for housebreaking accidents.  When you yell or scold at your dog or resort to the age-old trick of smacking him with a rolled up newspaper, even if your intention is to tell your dog that it’s not acceptable for him to eliminate inside your home, dogs often learn that it’s not safe to eliminate when you are around instead. This is one of the reasons why you may find that your dog has accidents when left alone. There's definitely a communication problem here that you need to manage because fear is simply not an effective way for a dog to learn things properly.


You can avoid this confusion with positive reinforcement. Instead of punishing him by the behavior you don’t want, reward him with the behavior you want - which is going to the bathroom outside.  Give your dog lots of praises and treats whenever your dog eliminates outside. Giving him some playtime is also a good way to reward your dog. Your dog will then learn that good things happen when he relieves himself outside and your dog will soon prefer to eliminate outside in an effort to get those rewards.  This helps your dog sort out what you’re really asking, and gives him a way to understand the rules.

Positive reinforcement can also be used on a wide variety of behavioral problems. Using training methods such as leash corrections or other forms of punishment is not effective for every dog. In some cases, punishment can serve to make a behavior problem even worse. Aggressive dogs are one example of this. There are aggressive dogs that become even more aggressive in the face of punishment.  When punishment is used as a training method, a dog who is scared of certain people or situations may become even more fearful. And fearful dogs may not respond well to even the smallest punishment. However, clicker trainers have reported some great success with using positive reinforcement to train aggressive and fearful dogs.

Boredom is also a major factor in many of our dogs' common behavior problems, such as digging and excessive chewing. Training is a great way to help keep boredom at bay. And you may be surprised at how much energy your dog will burn off simply by adding a few short, positive training sessions to his day.


Positive reinforcement training can also be fun for you and your dog because once your dog recognizes that training leads to lots of good things for them, your dog will begin to view training sessions as playtime. Soon your dog will be offering you good behaviors in the hopes of getting his rewards, and you're sure to get a smile out of his eagerness to learn.


Spending time on positive reinforcement methods of training is guaranteed to strengthen your bond between you and your dog. Dogs are friends and companions for most of us, and they become a part of our family. Positive reinforcement methods of training can help reinforce the bond we have with our dogs. While other training methods may teach your dog how to behave, positive reinforcement will help you lead your dog while maintaining his trust and strengthening relationship between you and your dog. Your dog is much more likely to enjoy your company if he is looking forward to being rewarded rather than fearing punishment.