Positive dog training: sounds nice, doesn’t it? But what does it really mean for you and your dog?
It means the opposite, of that old saw “no pain, no gain.”Here are a couple of my favorite books on it:
Positive dog training methods are those that use positive reinforcement — praise, treats, a toy, the click of a clicker once the dog knows what that means. The idea is that by teaching your dog what you want him to know using these methods, the dog will be much more eager and willing to learn than if you are training using aversion techniques, that is, shock collars, a jerk on a choke chain, or other pain-causing methods. “You can catch more flies with honey,” to use another old saying.
Of course, nothing is completely black and white. While positive dog training methods have been increasing tremendously in popularity in recent years, many trainers and plenty of dog owners use a mix of methods. I created this website to explore the positive methods, and the more I have read and tried out for myself with my own and friends’ dogs, the more impressed I have become with this approach.
But still… I was at a potluck a few days ago and a woman there said she had used every possible training technique she could think of to stop her dog from barking. Nothing had succeeded until she used a shock collar a few times. That had worked. Would I do that myself? I doubt it. But I did add “excessive barking” to a list of things to research that I have going.
When you start out with positive methods with a new puppy, you can see such a wonderful blossoming as the little one learns all sorts of things quickly and happily. You aren’t using fear as a motivator, and the results can be stunning.
Give it a try, see where it takes you.