Positive reinforcement training is a powerful tool that every pet-parent possess. It is also a beneficial and safe way to train puppies at all stages of puppyhood. Puppies want to work hard to please their pack leader. In this case, the pack leader is you. Puppies learn by the positive reaction from their leader, and the prospect of receiving a delicious treat. Positive reinforcement encourages the puppy to keep repeating the behavior so that he will continue to receive the reward.
Juicy, yummy, meaty treats are every puppy’s favorite reward. Make sure to find a treat brand that your puppy really loves, and keep mixing up the treats to keep things exciting for your pup. Some puppies are more motivated by food than others, but in every case, you should be able to find a treat that your pup goes wacko over.
Other types of rewards should also be mixed into keeping your puppy on a path of good behavior. Try to include verbal rewards such as “good boy,” “good job,” and “way to go.” You can also make up your own command that signals your pup has done the right thing. Just stay consistent and make sure to use a happy and excited tone of voice so your puppy knows when he has done something spectacular like sit or shake! The verbal reward is an important factor in the process because it signals your pup immediately that he/she has done the right thing. The verbal command can be repeated over the course of your dog’s life, so pick something early and stick to it.
The verbal reward should always be followed with positive physical contact such as a soft gentle pat on their head, ear scratch or butt rub. All of the praise combined will get your pup’s attention and will have him waiting to perform for you again and again.
Another option to reward your puppy is a toy. Rewarding your puppy immediately, within 5 seconds after the good behavior is displayed, will alert your puppy to which behavior the toy or treat is being awarded for. Puppies have very short memory spans, so waiting 5 or 10 minutes before you praise your pup for a good action is a bit counterproductive.
By using positive reinforcement training, you are providing your puppy with good, clear communication. This communication allows a pet-parent to strengthen the bond between parent and baby. This positive bond strengthens over time and allows the puppy to trust their pack leader.
So today’s takeaways:
- Positive reinforcement training kicks butt
- Mix rewards such as treats, toys and personal affection
- Use a consistent verbal praise command and stick to it
- Find delicious treats and toys that motivate your pup
- Train your pup to become the definition of obedience and manners