Positive Dog Training UK. Professional Gear

Dog Training. Part 1: Positive Reinforcement

Warning: we are not professional dog experts. If your dog has serious behavior problems, you should consult a professional dog trainer, but do not ignore them and do not try to handle them yourself!

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We all want our dogs to give paw, sit, and lie down on a command. However, some people know how to gain this, but others even have no idea how to go the training process.

Anyway, we want to tell you about two basic methods of training: positive and negative reinforcement. Both of them will help your dog to understand how to behave and what you want from it. They are based on repeating actions and their results.

Using positive reinforcement you praise the dog when it does something right. For example, give it some treats. Negative reinforcement is when you punish your dog if it does something bad. For example, take away a toy or raise your voice.

Let's look at each method in detail. We will start with the positive reinforcement in training.

The Method of Positive Reinforcement

Although the method of positive reinforcement is entirely based on praise, treats, etc., you should keep your rigor and patience in the trainings. The biggest delusion about the method of positive reinforcement is that you will spoil your dog. But this is not the case. The main essence of the method is to praise the dog when it does something right, and show it how to do right, when it does something wrong.


You came home and found the dog eating your slipper. You do not shout at it, but say a firm "Stop" and take away your slipper. Then you give your dog a bone or a toy, showing that the dog can chew it saying "Good".

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So you do not praise your dog for chewing the slipper, you show it what to do instead of. You encourage good behavior, repeating the command and giving the dog a reward when it obeys.

Using food as praise conceals some pitfalls. Do not use food as a bribe. But sometimes it has to be a reward. For example for commands like "Sit" or "Heel" food should be kept away. In these cases the dog must obey regardless of receiving food and its main motivation should be a desire "to do the right thing".

Sometimes food can be used for training revision, but experts believe that it is important to exclude food as a reward of the training process gradually.

It is important to praise your dog only when it behaves properly, not when it looks at you with pitiful eyes. Also, you shouldn't say "Good girl/boy", if the dog didn't do what you wanted from it. You may think that this motivates your dog to obey you, but in fact the opposite is true.

This method, like the method of negative reinforcement, is based on methodicalness of approaching. But it does not mean that every time the dog listens to you, you have to give it a reward. You should reduce the number of rewards and sometimes just say "Dood girl/boy".

"We do not want to give the dog a treat too often. In this case it may expect a reward for any correct action and stop to listen to without treats".

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Your goal is to teach your dog to obey commands and not to wait a treat for it.

An important rule in training: at first praise the dog aloud and only then give it a treat. Let it rejoice at your words firstly, and only then at food. The dog must obey rather you than food.

To a question about the food: by the method of positive reinforcement fleshing out is one of the most serious risks. As a rule, the owners did not take into account how much the dog eats as a "reward", and use very high-calorie food as treats, for example, cheese. In this case the dog can get an excessive number of calories per day.

Here are some tips if you want to use food to encourage your dog:

  • Use treats intended specifically for dog training (it can be dehydrated lungs, etc.)
  • Use small portions of the daily ration of your dog (for example, part of the dry food daily limit intended for your dog).
  • Use low-calorie food: apples, carrots, boiled chicken.
  • Try to replace food by a usual praise.

And also it would be great to include exercises in your training plan for your dog weight maintenance. 

See recommended useful products for positive training such as harnesses, bite tugs and toys with treats (snack dog toys):

Best Nylon Dog Harness Nylon Dog Harness with Handle Leather Bite Tug Leather Dog Harness for Large Dogs

Dog Toy Boredom Breaker Dog Treat Holder Toy Dog Treat Dispenser Toys

Learn more about positive reinforcement dog training.