March 19, 2014

What is Positive Reinforcement Training?

Author: Michele Hatley


Not All Dog Training Methods Are The Same. What Is Positive Reinforcement Training?

There are many different dog trainers and training schools located in the Chicago Suburbs. Throughout Elmhurst, Oak Park, La Grange, Wheaton, Bloomingdale, and Woodridge, you will find trainers with different expertise (i.e. positive reinforcement, adverse, etc.) as well as trainers and behaviorists that handle behavior issues other than obedience training. Depending on the issue at hand and the method you are most comfortable with, there are many options when it comes to “training”. At Floofins & Co. our in-house expertise is with Positive Reinforcement Obedience Training, but what does that mean and what will you experience with this method?

Positive reinforcement is one quadrant of B.F. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning and it means that something is added to a situation that will make the likelihood of the particular behavior that follows to reoccur. An easy example to understand is when our dog sits (sit=the behavior) and we reinforce our dog with a treat (treat = the addition to the situation) our dog is likely to sit again because it liked the reward that followed. Behaviors that are reinforced are likely to happen again and by reinforcing behaviors we help communicate to our dogs what we like from them.

Clicker training gives the dog the option to participate; they are never forced to do anything. Training becomes a game and is something fun for them, so they often like to participate. I love positive reinforcement because it has allowed me to build wonderful relationships with my dogs. Basic obedience was only the start and from there I have gone on to train them for agility as well as other fun behaviors. Training will help you have a more well-mannered dog, but using positive reinforcement training also gives you the time to build trust, get to know, and have fun with your dog. Try it out, you will definitely see a difference!

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