Training a dog takes patience and willpower. While there are many teaching methods, the rewards training system has proven to be an ethical and successful way to enforce good behaviour. This article explains the benefits of using the reward experience in canine obedience training.

What Is the Rewards System?

Experts believe that dogs should be trained using programs that are designed to encourage the formation and maintenance of pleasant behaviours using the dog’s natural inclinations and positive reinforcement. In rewards-based training, the dog is set up to succeed and is then rewarded for completing the desired behaviour.

It is paramount to maintain a positive relationship with your dog and to ensure that training is an enjoyable experience for the owner and the animal. Potential rewards could be a food treat, a favourite toy or verbal praise.

Instead of punishing unwanted behaviour, this training system is based on generally ignoring mild disobedience. If dogs aren’t rewarded for a certain action, it is very likely that it will phase out of their habits.

Why Use the Rewards System?

Rewards-based training remains the most humane and effective method for obedience training. It does not involve constant displays of dominance, aversive techniques or physical punishment. If you are having trouble maintaining results with this system, contact a qualified dog trainer or think about undertaking your own canine training certification.

Avoiding Permissiveness in Rewards Training

When a dog is allowed to do what they want without watchful guidance, it is a type of “permissiveness”. New negative behaviours that a dog enjoys will be enforced quickly and this often results in a frustrated owner. Trying to stop the behaviour could reward your dog with attention. Dogs are easily educated to create habits they enjoy and owners approve of. If you don’t like a recent behaviour, ensure your dog is not rewarded in any way. No reward will equal punishment.

Rewarding Your Dog and the Reward Experience

It is important to realise that there is a stark difference between giving your dog a reward and including yourself as a part of the reward experience. Giving a treat, a toy or a game is merely an action. It does not necessarily need to involve the owner at all, but rather the dog and the reward are isolated. Immersing yourself in the process so that your attention is a reward in itself means your dog will place more value in the reward and in you.

Changing how you administer rewards will change the amount of effort your dog directs to the training. Being uninterested in rewarding your dog will make your dog lose interest in the reward. Using the experience of your attention is an invaluable tool in enforcing good behaviours!

To learn more about the rewards system or to begin your dog obedience certification, contact the NDTF online or call 1300 66 44 66.