Why Positive Reinforcement Training?

Hennah, a poodle mix and graduate of The Dog SquadWe know that there are many types of training out there and that you have choices. There is a joke among trainers: What’s the only thing that two trainers agree on? That the third one is doing it wrong. There is a grain of truth in that joke, but when choosing training, doesn’t a partnership sound nicer and more humane than punishing your pet?

Wouldn’t you love to be able to communicate with your pet? Positive reinforcement is a training method that teaches you and your pet a way to communicate and forms a partnership based on cooperation.

Positive reinforcement doesn’t use “commands,” we use “cues,” a signal that tells your pet what you want him or her to do. By shaping behavior, your pet learns that cooperation not only earns them a reward, but can be very exciting too. My foster dog prances with happiness when he sees my training bag come out of the closet! Praise and positive actions teach your pet in a proactive way rather than just telling them what you don’t want them doing.

Notice that the word “pet” is used, rather than “dog.” This is intentional because positive reinforcement methods work with every species! I personally am training a pig right now and have seen colleagues train many animals; cats, ferrets, rats, horses, and even fish! The possibilities are endless!

If you would like to find a positive reinforcement trainer in your area, click here to find a trainer in your area. Also, be sure to watch the short video about clicker training, it shows the benefits of force-free training.

Patricia McConnell, PhD provides has a website that includes some great, very short videos on positive reinforcement in dog training as well as other helpful links.

And finally, some more good info is available from the Humane Society of the United States.

Happy Training!!

Cat Intoci, Director of Special Projects