Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive Reinforcement Training

When most people think of positive reinforcement training, they think of treat training. 

Yes, this is one way the trainers St Louis Dog School use positive reinforcement. But did you know you can also use toys, play time, and affection?

Positive reinforcement doesn’t just mean treat training. What it truly means is something is being added (positive) to a behavior we want to keep happening (reinforcement). There is a whole long speech we could go on that talks about the 4 quadrants of Operant Conditioning, but I will spare you all that boring, sciency stuff.

When a dog doesn’t know anything, using positive reinforcement is an amazing way to teach a dog a new behavior and what we truly want them to do. The vast majority of brand new puppies are trained this way. They haven’t developed any bad behaviors, so they are a perfectly clean slate.

Speaking of bad behaviors, how can you correct them by using positive reinforcement? It is tough, takes a lot of patience, and can take a long time. For the average dog owner in St. Louis that is calling us, they don’t have the time to go through a long drawn out process, nor do they have the time or energy to create the proper structure for the dog to be at peak performance.

When there is aggression or reactivity, I’m not going to sit there and try to force food down the dogs throat in hopes that they eventually start behaving. Instead, I choose to use a balanced method. When the dog gets aggressive, I physically tell them “absolutely not!” with a correction, then redirect them into something they are allowed to do.

Depending on the dog, much of the reactivity cases can be fixed fairly quickly by telling the dog no, taking away their bad decision, and showing them what the right decision is. When it comes to true aggression, things take longer. It isn’t a quick fix and there is more at the root of their behavior.

Here in St. Louis, I have become a go to trainer for reactivity and aggression. Give me a call and let's get a game plan together for you and your pup!

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