Many dog trainers around the world are changing from their old techniques to a new, more compassionate form of dog training known as positive reinforcement. If you’re looking for home dog training in South Central Florida, chances are you’ll find many trainers in your area who work exclusively with this method. Trainers who emphasize positive reinforcement believe that it is a gentler way of communicating with your pet that helps to strengthen a loving, trusting bond between dog and owner. It can be used in a variety of situations, from basic manners to tricks. Many people who compete with their dogs in sports like agility and flyball use positive reinforcement training with their dogs. It has even been successful at reducing canine aggression aimed at people or other dogs.
Positive Reinforcement vs. Other Methods
Traditional dog training is set up in such a way that the dog receives corrections when he doesn’t follow a command. These can be verbal (saying “no”) or physical, like a tug on the leash. Positive reinforcement trainers, however, believe that these corrections can damage your relationship with your dog, especially if they cause physical pain or discomfort. Instead, newer methods aim to shape your dog’s behavior by rewarding him when he follows a command, and ignoring him when he disobeys or displays inappropriate behavior like jumping. As your dog learns that he gets rewarded for listening to you, he’ll begin to consistently do as you ask. Plus, he won’t be afraid that he’ll be punished. One of the big problems with using corrections or punishment is that owners often don’t get the timing just right, so the dog doesn’t know what he’s being punished for. This doesn’t help your dog learn, and only makes him confused and scared.
Tips for Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement, like any other kind of training, requires a lot of patience on your part. Start small, in an area with no distractions, and keep your training sessions short and fun. Hire a professional dog trainer to help you with home dog training in South Central Florida and get you off to a good start. Working in the home is important because your dog spends so much time at home with you that it’s important he understand how he’s supposed to behave. Your trainer will show you the basics of positive reinforcement and help you understand how to best communicate with your dog. You can use treats, praise, or a favorite toy to let your dog know when he’s done a good job. This doesn’t just cover tricks like “sit” or “down,” but also useful home skills like not stealing food off the kitchen counter. Then, once you have the basics down, you can begin to practice in places with more distractions, like a local park. The more positive training experiences you have with your dog, the stronger your relationship will become.