When training your dog, a proven way of helping them learn is to reward the good behaviour with treats, toys or praise. An example of this is if you were teaching your dog to sit, you would say the command and when your dog performs the desired behaviour, you reward them with a treat. This is called positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement works by showing your dog that when they display the correct behaviours, they receive a reward. When you reward your dog, they will associate being rewarded with the good behaviour they have just done, therefore they will be more likely to repeat this behaviour in the future.
The reward you use for positive reinforcement does not necessarily have to be treats, you can also use toys or attention as a reward, you just need to know what your dog likes and will be willing to work for! The reward you use can also change depending on what the behaviour is that you are trying to teach. For example, if you are training your dog to sit quietly then you may not want to give them food as a reward in case it makes them giddy again, so this would be a good opportunity to use praise and attention as a positive reinforcement.
Not only is positive reinforcement a great method of training, it also allows you and your dog to strengthen your bond and relationship by spending time together. This is a benefit of positive reinforcement that not all training methods have.
You should use different types of treats to reward different types of behaviours. It is recommended that you have a really good treat that your dog really enjoys such as roast chicken to reward when they get something spot-on, or when learning a brand new behaviour, as this requires more work from your dog. If you are practicing positive reinforcement with a behaviour that your dog can already do quite easily, it might be best to use a lower value reward such as dried biscuits.
The main thing to remember if you are going to try positive reinforcement to train your dog is to be consistent with your training and not lose patience when your dog isn’t picking it up – they are doing their best!
If you are struggling to find a tasty treat to use as a reward for your training, the TurmerEase Pet Supplement works really well as a high value reward. Formulated with TurmerAid, these supplements support your pet’s joint health, digestion, coat and skin, and general well-being. Therefore they are beneficial to your pet’s health – not just delicious!