Author: Nick White

Nick White is the owner of Off Leash K9 Training. He has over 80 dog training franchise locations throughout the United States. He currently hosts the A&E show, America's Top Dog.

Dog, Does positive reinforcement work for dogs? 

How do you use positive reinforcement in northern virginia dog training? Positive reinforcement is an effective dog training technique professional dog trainers swear by. The concept behind positive reinforcement is rewarding your dog for good behavior and ignoring your dog when it isn’t behaving well. Rewards come in various forms like games, car rides, or walks, compliments or praises, or providing your dog with treats. How do you use positive reinforcement? Let’s find out.

First of all, we highly suggest you get everyone in your family involved in dog training. This form of training can be used by all family members because it’s also the easiest to do. It can be dangerous to allow a member of your family to use a different dog training method especially one that isn’t backed up by research. For instance, a child that uses leash corrections to punish a dog that exhibited bad behavior.

Many pet owners are drawn to positive reinforcement because it’s easy and simple to do. If you have kids at home, you can simply give them a bag of dog treats that they can reward the dog when it obeys commands. With your supervision, you can even teach your kids simple basic commands that they can use to train your dog.

Another thing we love about positive reinforcement is it allows you to clearly communicate with your dog. You get to decide the command you want and by giving the reward you are letting your dog know that you are happy when your dog gets to complete an activity successfully. When you continue rewarding your dog for good behavior, it will repeat those desired behaviors.

Many pet owners think the punishment method is an effective strategy in dog training. What they don’t know is punishment is ineffective and causes confusion. For example, if you punish your dog for peeing on your living room rug you may smack your dog to let it know that the behavior is unacceptable. Although the intention is to let your dog know that what it did is bad, your dog will think that it’s only bad when you are around. Therefore, the bad behavior of peeing on the rug may happen again when you’re not there. This is one of the reasons why dogs get into accidents when they are alone. In other words, punishment in an attempt to instill fear will not clearly communicate what you want your dog to do.

Positive reinforcement takes all the confusion away. How? One example is when you want to teach your dog to poop or pee outside your house. Instead of smacking your dog, you will give your dog a reward if it goes outside to eliminate. Aside from giving your dog a treat you may also generously shower your dog with compliments and praise or allow it to have more playtime. With patience and consistency, your dog will eventually learn that it will be rewarded when it eliminates outside of the house and it doesn’t get anything when it pees or poops inside.

Studies show that using ineffective training methods like punishment can only make a dog’s behavior even worse. Dog trainers say that aggressive dogs become even more aggressive when they are punished.


To make sure that positive reinforcement is effective you have to do it consistently. A word of warning, we also recommend you stretch your patience because honing good behavior takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. For pet owners who don’t have the time, energy, and patience to train their dogs you can hire professional dog trainers to teach your dog basic and advanced tricks.

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