Nowadays there are so many different schools and methods to train dogs that if you are a complete beginner, it may be hard to pick a direction. In this article, we will also describe tricks that have proven to be effective so that they can serve you a ground when you are not sure what to do.
The first thing we would like to start with is demystifying the concept of positive reinforcement. It does work well. However, there is a clear line between supporting your dog’s positive behavior and being in control of the situation versus having your dog do whatever it wants and sometimes, when it really wants a treat, doing what you want. No matter what methods you are using, you need to always stay in charge and make sure your dog follows the rules set by you. This is what dog training Albuquerque experience tells us, and so does common sense.
Being a responsible dog owner may, by the way, be super hard at first as when you get a dog, because most likely (and hopefully!) you love it and want to give it treats and pat it and show your unconditional love. Please stay alert. In such cases, your puppy will remind you that you actually do have conditions and that there are some existing boundaries it cannot play with. In those cases, positive reinforcement will not serve you well.
Let us take a closer look at such situations. For those of you who do not exactly know, positive reinforcement is when you give food or show your dog affection and love in case it does something well or when you train a dog and it follows the rules or does a trick you were asking it to do. In this situation, the animal receives food when it shows the desired behavior and gets nothing when it does not.
It all looks very progressive and nice, and indeed, it is the best method when the goal is to teach a puppy some fun tricks. However, the disturbing part comes in when you know for sure that your dog realizes the way it is supposed to act, but decides not to because the excitement of the action feels better than a treat. For example, if you give food to a dog during each walk it follows you and does not run away, at some point, there will be a moment when the dog is going to get carried away and run, because it will want to test this scenario even if it means not having a treat. Positive reinforcement confirms that in this case, the dog will simply not get a treat, so no punishment provided.
It is probably needless to say that such kind of training may be dangerous and not fun when you have to make sure the dog obeys you for the sake of its own security or in public places. When your dog becomes aggressive or tries biting another dog and both of them start playing in a disturbing manner, your available treat will not stop anything. However, your word will if your dog knows you also have negative reinforcement in your sleeve. It does not mean that you have to be aggressive with your puppy. Not at all! However, you need to clearly show what you are going to tolerate and what you are not by some undesired actions as well.
To sum up, it is extremely important to use both positive and negative reinforcements while raising a puppy. Stay alert and see how your dog reacts to different kinds of treats and punishments. We do not want your dog to be unhappy or stressed, but we want to find the most pleasant way of teaching it how to behave.