How to Use Positive Reinforcement To Train Your Dog

How to Use Positive Reinforcement To Train Your Dog

Positive reinforcement is a great method to manipulate the kind of behavior you expect from someone and it can be especially useful when training your dog. The idea of positive reinforcement means rewarding the behaviors that you like while ignoring the behaviors you do not like. There are various tactics to use such as praise, life rewards which include games, walks, and/or car rides, and also treats to rewards your dog’s good behavior. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that come with training your dog with positive reinforcement. 

Gets Everyone Involved

By implementing positive reinforcement, it allows the entire family to get involved in training the dog. You will not have to speak in a strong tone, use any strength, or put yourself or another family member in danger. For example, it may be a little dangerous to allow a child to use certain methods of dog training like leash corrections and other forms of punishment. So, with positive reinforcement, you can give your child a handful of dog treats while teaching them the commands you are using allowing them to train your dog the same way you do, while under your supervision.

Establishes Communication

Positive reinforcement also allows you to communicate with your dog. You simply decide what it is that you want your dog to do and then let them know by offering rewards when they do that desired action. As you continue to reward them for doing things correctly, they will be more likely to repeat these good behaviors. Using punishment is not always as clear, for example, when you punish a dog for housebreaking accidents. Say, you catch your dog urinating on the carpet and you scold them or even resort to smacking them with a rolled-up newspaper. Your intention is to let them know that it is not acceptable to eliminate in the house, however, your dog might interpret it as that they should not eliminate when you are around. This kind of confusion can be avoided through positive reinforcement. Using this same example, the goal is to teach your dog to eliminate outside rather than inside the house. So, rather than punishing them, you would just reward the behavior you are seeking which is using the bathroom outside. So, every time your dog eliminates outside, you would shower them with praise and treats.

You Can Use It For Various Behaviors

Training methods like leash corrections or other forms of punishment may not be effective for every dog. In fact, sometimes, the punishment can only make the behavior problem worse. Aggressive dogs are a great example of this because, in the face of punishment, they tend to become even more aggressive. Similarly, fearful dogs might not respond well to even the slightest punishment as they may become even more fearful when you use it as a training method. Clicker trainers, however, have noticed greater success through positive reinforcement when it came to training aggressive and fearful dogs.

Keeps It Fun

If you are someone who keeps training sessions short and upbeat, positive reinforcement training can keep things fun for you and your dog. Once your dog realizes that training will lead to a lot of good things for them, they will start to view them as playtime and will simply offer good behavior in hopes of getting the rewards.

If you are looking for additional ways to best train your dog or any pet, feel free to contact Cherrelyn Animal Hospital at (303) 532-1258.

Cold Weather Safety Tips For Dogs

Throughout all the seasons, our dogs need love, support, protection, and care and, in the winter, when the weather is cold, they need extra help to stay warm.  What is a normal activity in the warmer months, can be devastating to your pet during the winter. Some of the dangers associated with dogs during winter range from ingesting anti-freeze to hypothermia that can lead to sickness and even death.  Here are a few tips that will keep your dog safe, warm and comfortable this winter.

Keep Your Pup Warm 

The first most important step to keeping your dog safe in winter is, of course, keeping them warm.  During winter, dogs are at risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Keep them warm by leaving them home rather than taking them out and leaving them in a car.  Your car acts as a refrigerator during winter and you don’t want your dog exposed to this cold that could get them sick. 

You’re still going to want to walk your dog during the winter but when it’s especially cold out, keep younger, older, and sick pets indoors.  If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for them too. Cute coats and dog boots are to help healthy, adult dogs stay warm in winter. You may want to invest in a cute dog coat or sweater to outfit your dog when you take them on a walk.  

On your walks, make sure your dog wears something reflective.  Because it gets darker earlier in winter, reflective gear will help your dog stay seen during your walk.  This might include wearing a reflector in their clothing, a reflecting leash, or a reflecting collar. You want to make sure your pets can be seen while walking on the street, protected from passing cars.  Avoid ice on your walks as well. Frozen lakes and ponds are dangerous because if the ice breaks, your pet could accidentally fall in.  

Protect Your Dog From Dangerous Situations

More pets become lost during the winter because snowfalls can disguise recognizable scents that normally help them find their way home.  Prevent your dogs from becoming lost by keeping them leashed on walks and just in case, make sure their collars have up-to-date contact information.  

When you finish your walk, wipe your dog’s paws.  Your dog’s paws can pick up all kinds of toxic chemicals like rock salt, antifreeze, and de-icers.  Wipe off their paws when you return home to prevent them from licking their paws and becoming sick. Also, purchase pet-safe de-icers for your home.  It goes without saying that your dog may or may not eat these de-icers so it’s best to have a pet-safe one.  

Remember to check your dog’s paws for bleeding and cracks.  This is a sign that they are damaging their paws while out walking and you’ll want to know why and if you need to take a break for a day or so until their paws heal.  Avoid spills of antifreeze as antifreeze attracts dogs and cats because it is very sweet to taste. Antifreeze is extremely poisonous and if a dog ingests it, this can lead to serious illness and even death.  

Blizzards can sometimes bring extreme cold that can cause power outages.  Make sure to have an emergency plan that includes your pets. Have an emergency kit with enough food, water, and medication to last your pets at least five days.  By thinking ahead, you are more likely to keep your pet safe.  While wintertime can be fun with snowfall walks, we want you to keep these safety tips in mind to protect your beloved pet.  Call Cherrelyn Animal Hospital at (303) 532-1258 with any of your pet health needs.