What is Positive Reinforcement?  

 

It is a system that rejects any form of force or physical manipulation. We need to be mindful even when using positive reinforcement that we do not intimidate or coax dogs to "make" them do what we wish.

 

If you looked up how to solve a behaviour problem you would find the range of options consisted of different types of punishment. There are all kinds of discussions about which implements to use (throw chains, keys, booby traps,  sprays, one’s hands or fists), where on the dog’s body to strike him (on the muzzle, the backside, under the chin so he doesn't see it coming, on the part of his body that committed the “crime”), and what sort of collar to put around the dog’s neck in order to deliver pain or a correction efficiently.

We can teach any behaviour that we want the dog to do and change behaviour that we don’t want. We do not have to punish the dog in order to make a behaviour “not rewarding.” We just need to know how to make the right behaviour rewarding enough that the dog will choose to do that behaviour instead of an inappropriate one. We accomplish this by rewarding the behaviours we want and ignoring or preventing those we don’t want.

We capture wanted behaviours and reward them. We do not lure or coax dogs to do what we want.

 

Punishment does not teach a dog what he should be doing instead. If you are using punishment methods to train your dog, he may become fearful, distrustful, or aggressive, which will only lead to more behaviour problems.  

Never use physical punishment that involves some level of discomfort or pain, which may cause your dog to bite to defend itself or become distrustful of you.

 

 

 

The Four Cs.

 

 
C- Calm – we encourage calm so that dogs will be able to concentrate, learn, think and feel good


C – Connection – we need build up connection with the dogs handler when out on walks to help them feel safe 


C – Choices – choices can be as simple as “choosing” to calm, “choosing to sit” and not jump etc. When we use cues for various behaviours, it may briefly manage them, but it does not feel as good as when a dog “chooses” to calm. Also, when we ask for a Sit or other behaviours using verbal cues, the dogs often use up their tiny bit of self-control doing them and then “explode” and can often believe we are “joining” in.


C – Confidence – once we have calm, connection and use fewer verbal cues, their confidence grows, and they are then ready to learn