Posted by on April 9, 2014

Positive reinforcement is the best method when it comes to training your furry friend. The easiest and most effective way to handle even the toughest situations with your dogs is in a positive way.

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Rusty, our foster dog, quickly began responding to clicker training.

The first step is socializing your dog; we recently touched base on recommended socialization windows and tools to help make life easier for you and your young pup. (read more here.)

When your dog is playing well or doing a behavior that you believe is positive, reward him; treats, and/or praise are the tools that lead to a positive response from your dog. If he sits, stays, or comes when called, tell him how good it was.

Timing is extremely important in all dog training. Make sure the good behavior is acknowledged right after something positive is accomplished. Waiting a little bit after may confuse the dog and give him the wrong idea. For example, you give a dog a treat when coming inside after going potty outside. Your intention may be to reward the dog for proper potty manners, but the timing of the treat rewards the dog for coming in the house. This is another good reason to reward your dog, but not the intended behavior to reinforce with the treat.

Setting your dog up to succeed is very important. Do not encourage teasing when playing a game or play biting. Encouraging these otherwise bad behaviors in play is negatively enforcing behaviors that are not appropriate in most circumstances. Once they see that it is fun and perfectly fine to play with you and “play bite,” they will then think it’s ok to “play bite” with others. That can turn into aggressive play and switch a fun play session into a negative one with consequences.

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Clicker training is one of our favorite methods of positive reinforcement training.

It is important to stay consistent and stick with the rules. If you allow your pet to jump up on the door, use teeth, or bark at people coming through the door one day, they are going to think it is okay to do every day. “That which you permit, you promote.”

Training techniques are often shown through classes or demonstrations, but the real test is to enforce them in your home. You never want to be put in a situation where people are afraid to come into your home and get attacked by your dog because it adds more stress to you and your dog’s life that is unnecessary. 

Cold Nose Lodge has many training classes available, as well as one-on-one training with you and your dog. There are many methods of training, but the main one Cold Nose Lodge uses is positive reinforcement. We do not allow prong or shock collar training, as it can be harmful for the dog and become counterproductive. You can trade in a prong collar for a $10 credit toward the purchase of a no-pull harness.

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