Benefits of Positive Training
Training is one of the most important things you can do with your dog to ensure a harmonious relationship. Many behaviors that come naturally to dogs are inappropriate in a human-centric world, such as jumping, pulling, and begging. Many issues that arise with dog ownership stem from miscommunication or inconsistent communication between owner and dog. One of the reasons APDT launched National Train Your Dog Month was to address the reason why so many dogs end up in shelters every year, and to give dog owners the tools they need to prevent this from happening.
There are many ways to train your dog, along with lots of conflicting information. At TGDS, we strongly believe positive-reinforcement based methods are the only way to train. With a scientific backing, it has been proven to work on many species of animals, not just dogs. Positive training focuses on rewarding the behaviors you want and ignoring the ones you do not want. Evolution has shown that animals will only expend energy on behaviors that work for them. Therefore, the more your dog gets rewarded for a behavior, the more they will perform that behavior. Behaviors that are ignored will become ‘extinct.’
There are other benefits of using this training method. Here are some of them:
· Dogs trained with positive-based methods tend to learn new behaviors faster. Think about it: when you are learning something new, is it more helpful for someone to tell you what you are doing right or to tell you what you are doing wrong? They are also performing the behavior on their own rather than being physically manipulated. This makes the learning process more permanent.
· Positive-based training methods teach impulse control and problem solving skills. One of the major tenets of positive training is that animals should only participate if they want to, rather than being forced to. So when you ask your dog to sit, they have the choice to sit or not. If they don’t sit, they simply don’t get rewarded. But if they want that treat, they have to figure out what it is you want and perform that behavior.
· Reward-based training creates a tremendous bond between you and your dog. They learn to trust and respect you as a leader, forming positive associations with you and with training! Punishment-based training breaks down that bond, causing the dog to see you as irrational and unpredictable, and work for you out of fear. This causes stress and anxiety that could lead to behavioral issues.
· Builds a confident, well-balanced dog. They know what to expect from you and how to communicate. Being rewarded for behaviors, rather than punished, makes the dog feel safe to be themselves. This leads to less anxiety in new situations, and helps prevent reactivity and aggression.
· You are happier and calmer as well! These training methods are pretty stress-free for both you and your dog. Understanding the science behind positive training sets you and your dog up for success because these methods work. The actual act of training is less stressful as well because it’s based on you being POSITIVE! This will improve your mood and make training fun. Punishment-based methods have the owner yelling, yanking, and pulling at their dogs which causes frustration and tension.