What is positive reinforcement training?

Often referred to as positive, +R, or reward-based training, it is the methodology of using reinforcement that the dog enjoys to teach them everything from basic obedience skills to complex maneuvers and even the modification of aggressive behaviors. By using things your dog finds rewarding, we are able to influence the repetition of behaviors we like while minimizing or replacing the behaviors we don’t. Positive reinforcement builds a relationship between dogs and their owners based on trust, respect and intrinsic needs such as food, play, praise and attention. This type of training creates a dog that is happy to work for their handler as opposed to one who performs simply because they must.

It Is…

  • Endorsed by the scientific community
  • Reward based (think paycheck)
  • Considered “Modern” training
  • Able to build durable, reliable cues
  • A way to change emotional responses
  • Able to create a bond based on respect
  • Empowering for owner and dog
  • A choice

It Is Not…

  • Bribing your dog
  • Purely Positive all of the time
  • “Permissive” training
  • Aversive (causing avoidance of punishing stimuli)
  • Lenient
  • Coercive (the use of force or threat)
  • Undisciplined
  • A “quick” fix

What are compatible cues and why do we use them?

At Essential Canines we make a choice to use the Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive training hierarchy. (Read more about LIMA and what it is) We also use compatible cue training to help dogs learn the difference between cues and make them more durable. For instance, we don’t just teach dogs to “Leave it“. We also teach “Take It” at the same time. This allows the dog to build an association between both cues and gives them the ability to choose. And choice is a powerful motivator!

Reward-Based Training is endorsed by the scientific community

Scientific research has shown that we don’t need to use punishment, force or fear-based methods in training to get terrific results. We can choose to give our dogs a “paycheck” for great behavior, just like we get every week for a job well done.