Ever wondered how that person gets their dog to sit on command every single time? Or why other peoples’ pups seem to come when they call them, drop their prized ball when asked and are just generally better behaved than your unruly pooch? The answer is likely effective and consistent training! So, how can you achieve this too? Well, gone are the days of the dominance theory whereby fear, force and aggression were used to make your dog submissive. Instead, it is now widely regarded that positive reinforcement is the most effective way to train your canine companion whilst also developing that crucial positive bond.
So, what does positive reinforcement training mean?
Well, it is quite simple - you reward the behavior you are wanting and ignore the behavior you want to discourage. And what is the best way to reward your dog? For most… it is through their tummies!
Treat based positive reinforcement training is one of the most effective and efficient ways of training your pup. The idea is that every time you ask them to do something, you have a treat in your hand, ready to deliver immediately, once the task is performed. Over time they start to associate this behavior with a delicious reward, making them eager to execute your command.
K9 Natural’s range of freeze-dried and air-dried treats are an excellent option for this. I particularly like using the air-dried Lamb Lung Protein Bites when I’m on the go in the dog park as they are easy to pop in your pocket. When I’m at home, Albus’ favourite freeze- dried Green Lipped Mussels Healthy Snacks are my go-to!
Once the behavior is mastered, you can begin reducing the treats haphazardly, such that you are only rewarding the behavior sporadically. This will help to keep your pooch guessing and keen to perform the task in the hope a tasty morsel is coming their way. The idea is that over time you won’t need any treats at all, and you and your canine companion will be the envy of the dog park with their perfect behavior.
Most importantly, please remember that training is a lifelong work in progress and should be enjoyable for both you and your pup. Consistency, perseverance, and patience are critical to success along with a stash of irresistible treats. However, if all else fails, and you find yourself the laughing stock of the dog park, try and remind yourself with a smile…. that like me, you may just have a loveable rogue!
Written by Dr. Josie Gollan