How to encourage positive behaviour in your dog

By Benjamin Houle, Edited by Paula Lacsena

When it comes down to teaching your dog obedience,  it can be incredibly frustrating. Teaching them new things—such as sitting down, redirection, giving you their paw, or laying down—is no walk in the park. It takes time and patience for any dog to adapt and maintain a good behaviour; however, with positive reinforcements and encouragement, it can make all the difference.

Here  are some helpful  tips to help you instill positivity and encouragement into your dog’s behaviour:

1) Stay consistent with your training

Staying consistent with your training methods is essential when establishing ground rules for your dog. Dogs need to figure out what you want them to do, and there is no better way to do so  than by staying consistent with your training every day. This way, they can adapt to your teachings and rules more easily!

2) Implement classical conditioning

Classical conditioning is a way of learning, where a conditioned stimulus—such as sitting or laying down—becomes associated with an unrelated unconditioned stimulus. An example of classical conditioning is giving a treat to your dog simultaneously as they sit down at your command; this act can generate a conditioned response. Essentially, the conditioned response is the outcome you want your dog to eventually learn without the need to bribe them with  treats.

3) Offer rewards for positive encouragement

Many first-time dog owners would think that treats are the only way to reward a dog when, in fact, it can be anything that your dog finds valuable. These things can encourage positive  behaviour when it’s given to them at an appropriate time. Dog treats work great as rewards, but not all dogs are as food-driven as others. Giving your dog physical attention, verbal praise, toys,  games, or anything that could stimulate them will help in the positive behavioural training process.

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