March 29, 2011

Tuesday Dog Training Tip – Reinforcement

Author: Michele Hatley

A Maverick of Positive Reinforcement Training, Dog Trainer Michele Hatley Discusses What Exactly A Reinforcement Is.

Reinforcement is anything that increases the possibility of a behavior happening again. Reinforcement can be food, treats, toys, praise, attention – the list is endless.

Reinforcement can help us train a new behavior or convey different messages. Since a hot dog, for example, may be more valuable to our dogs than their dry dog food, we could use hot dogs to convey that what our dogs did was Excellent! In most cases, your dog should be able to work for dry dog food or treats, but when working in challenging situations or on something new, using a higher value reinforcement, such as a hot dog, is a great option.

When working on training something new and it isn’t progressing very quickly, your reinforcements are something to take a closer look at. If your dog doesn’t find their reward very reinforcing, that could be one of the reasons why the behavior isn’t making progress. Remember, we don’t get to decide what our dogs like or find reinforcing, they do! So find out what those reinforcing items are and use them to advance your training.

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