How can this be possible? A professional dog trainer that makes his living training dogs admitting that dogs can actually think they are better? What? Is this some new-age dog training philosophy? Am I nuts? No.
To effectively use positive reinforcement to train your dog, you need to understand the difference between bribing and rewarding. Bribing a dog occurs when the treat or reward is shown up front before the behavior is requested or while the dog starts his behavior in response. Bribing often occurs when people call their dog.
Jumping on guests is a normal behavior that dogs exhibit, but through proper management and training, you can change your dog’s behavior. With inappropriate behaviors, it is important to identify what changes in the environment start the pattern of inappropriate behaviors. If you do not intervene at all when guests arrive, the normal chain of events might look like this:
Very frequently I will see a new puppy guardian on a walk telling their puppy not to jump on other dogs. They will say, “No Jumping” and pull their puppy away from other dogs, or hold the leash so they can’t jump. Usually as long as the other dog is not aggressive, puppies can jump on and play a bit rough with the the other dog. That is how dogs play and is normal puppy behavior.
I categorize these as "positive reinforcement" even though technically this describes some uses of negative reinforcement. I am discussing humane techniques as "positive reinforcement."
There are five ways of using positive reinforcement to train a dog to do behaviors.
A solid “Stay” is an important behavior for dogs to know. Once your dog has a foundation of staying when you ask, you will have much more control and your dog will be calmer and more pleasant around guests and social activities. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to go to an outdoor café and ask your dog to lie nicely next to you while you enjoy a cup of coffee?
Vaccinations are a necessary part of caring for a dog of any age, but there are precautions you should take to avoid complications. There is an ever-increasing amount of information available to suggest that dogs are receiving too many vaccinations. There currently isn't one agreed upon solution to the frequency of vaccinations, or even if they are all necessary.
One of the most effective ways to prevent bad puppy behaviors from happening and help with overall training strategies is to have your puppy wear a leash inside and trail it behind him wherever he goes. You should always either watch your puppy or manage his behavior by putting him safely in a crate or other puppy-proofed area. If you are feeling guilty about using the crate, read this post about getting over the guilt of crate training.
Training a dog to walk nicely when on leash can be very frustrating and can seem daunting. My job as a dog trainer is to break down goals into small chunks for my clients to focus on.