How To Train A Dog – Reward And Punishment

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In this post, I am going over some general considerations concerning how to train a dog, especially reward and punishment. These are the basics for any dog training.

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    HOW TO TRAIN A DOGHOW TO TRAIN A DOG

    HOW TO TRAIN A DOG

    How To Train A Dog Reward And PunishmentRox on May 19, 2013 0 comments

    In this post, I am going over

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  • some general considerationsconcerning how to train adog, especially reward andpunishment. These are thebasics for any dog trainingwhether you just want a basicdog training to have a wellbehaved friend, or if you want totrain sport dogs, working dogs orjust want to teach your dogtricks.

    Up until 1990 the opinion ruledthat a dog had to be trained bythe stick and carrot method.Later, methods became moregentle, and people did not wantto hear stick when talking aboutdog training.

    I think the stick and carrot method still holds true for all kinds of dog training,even for people who deny using it. They do use it because they have to, but theydo it in a refined more sophisticated way.

    Lets look at the two kinds of carrot and the two kinds of stick.

    Rewards:1. Positive reward: You give your dog something she enjoys, be it treats, praiseor play.2. Negative reward: You release your dog out of a less enjoyable situation, e.g.allow her to go out into the garden or take the leash off.

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  • Punishments:1. Positive punishment: You give your dog something she does not enjoy, be itscolding at her, beating her, giving a tug on the leash or whatever.2. Negative punishment: Take something away your dog enjoys. E.g. stop playingwith her, stop giving treats etc.

    Even if a lot of people do not want to talk or hear about it, Im convinced youneed some means of positive punishment. I am absolutely against brutal methodsand finding something is not so easy and depends also on your preferences.

    Keep in mind punishment is not a correct term for what we want to do. We justwant to stop the dog from unwanted behavior. Physical intervention is notnecessary. It is more adequate to startle your dog and distract her from whatshe was doing.

    What I find a handy device is a throwing chain. According to my experience it isenough to throw the chain near the puppy. If you hit her accidentally that is finesince the chain can not cause any damage, and hitting stresses the efficiency ofthis measure. Later the sound from the throw chain is enough to stop your dogfrom whatever she is doing. There are different similar devices on the market.

    The throw chain is for things that are hard to stop. For less insistent behavior, Iuse a command like no spoken in a sharp menacing voice.

    If you took a grown up dog you should experiment with positive punishmentbecause you do not know the dogs history. A throwing chain might scare the dogtoo much or can cause an agressive reaction.

    If your dog is from a responsible breeder, and if you did everything right with yournew pup, there should never be a need for more severe methods.

    Never use positive punishment to correct your dog during training if she does not

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  • do things right. Positive punishment should be used only to stop unwantedbehavior.

    Negative punishment is a very subtle way to tell your dog that you disapprove herbehavior. Use it, for example, if your puppy keeps playing roughly. Simply stopplaying, and that is what I do when my adult dog refuses to give me her toyduring play, or when she barks at the fence she has to come inside. As you see in,all instances you interrupt an enjoyable action.

    I never intentionally use negative rewarding for training, but if, for example, Imdoing leash training and then throw her ball to reward her behavior it might beseen as a negative reward (unleash her) followed by positive reward (runningafter her ball). I do not see it that way because I think my dog enjoys training.Keep training enjoyable for your dog too.

    Positive reward is certainly what I use the most. My dog enjoys food as well asplaying. So I have a variety of possibilities. Make it a hobby to find the mostrewarding treats for your dog. There is such a large variety: conventional dogtreats, home made dog treats, cheese, sausage, chicken, liver, beef and whatnot. Mind not every dog has the same taste.

    During training, I reward every improvement in her behavior. This way I canreward her very often. So my dog really enjoys training. She is even waiting for it.If she does not show any improvement she does not get her treat, which could beseen as negative punishment of course but since we are training I always makesure she can show some tiny improvement to earn her treat.

    This is more or less what I tell people about reward and punishment whenteaching them how to train a dog, no matter what breed.

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