The Australian Veterinary Association recommends positive dog training methods as the preferred method of training dogs.

Dog training is about developing good behaviours and building a strong relationship with your dog.

In this article, we take a look at positive reinforcement training in detail.  Then we discuss why it’s the preferred dog training method.  Finally, we’ll teach you how to tell whether a dog trainer uses positive reinforcement training techniques.

What is positive reinforcement training?

Positive reinforcement training is a type of learning that works well for dogs.

It’s based on the idea that dogs learn good behaviour by being rewarded for doing well.

Positive reinforcement trainers use verbal cues, hand signals, treats, clickers, toys and games to modify behaviour, correct bad behaviour and teach dog tricks.

What are the other types of dog training techniques?

Other dog training methods are often punishment-based and focus on the “bad” things that dogs do.

How can you tell if a dog trainer uses positive reinforcement training methods?

A picture is worth a thousand words

Incidentally, the pictures and videos posted on a dog trainer’s website or on social media will tell you what dog training methods they use.

As an example, stay away from “alpha dog trainers” who use or recommend choker chains, citronella collars, shock collars, prong collars, spray bottles, yelling, smacking or yanking on a collar or leash.  Dog training should not be cruel or punishment-based.

Next, look for signs of stress or anxiety in the dog training videos as the dog is being trained.  A dog who is walking slowly, deliberately or reluctantly, or licking its lips or dipping its head, is uncomfortable.

Consequently, don’t use dog trainers who force uncomfortable dogs into situations they don’t want to be in.  Dog training should be enjoyable and motivating for you and your dog.

Mind their language

As a rule, avoid dog trainer’s whose website or social media pages do not mention positive reinforcement as a training technique at all.

For the most part, dog trainers who describe themselves as “blended trainers” or “balanced trainers” use a combination of force or punishment and positive reinforcement training strategies.  At Fur Get Me Not, we recommend using a dog trainer that only uses positive reinforcement training methods.

In addition, stay away from dog trainers who describe dogs as “pack animals” who need authority.  Ethical dog trainers will talk about building strong relationships and developing good dog manners, not dog obedience or dominance theory.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, make sure you ask heaps of questions of your dog trainer about the kind of training methods they use and why they use them.  Click here to check out another article we’ve written on choosing the right dog trainer.

At Fur Get Me Not, we use positive reinforcement training techniques as our preferred method of dog training.  We believe in positively motivating dogs which leads to quick and happy learning experiences, trust and a strong bond between a dog and their human companions.

To register into our dog training classes, click here.