1. What is positive reinforcement in dog training?

What is positive reinforcement in dog training?

Share on 2019-05-09
If you study dog training in depth, you will sooner or later come across the term positive reinforcement in the specialist literature. In this article you will learn what positive reinforcement is and how to use it in dog training.

What is positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is an element of operant conditioning. It describes the addition of a pleasant stimulus as a consequence of a demonstrated behaviour. The aim of positive reinforcement is to make the desired behaviour occur more frequently.

Positive reinforcement in the dog trainer

Applied to training with your dog, this means that you reward desired behaviour. Suppose you want to teach your dog "space". To do this, you show him a piece of food and slowly lead your hand with the food forward towards the ground. The dog must lie down to get the food. As soon as he is lying on the floor, you release the food for him. To help your dog learn from this experience, repeat the exercise over and over again. Soon he will know what is important and will lie down even before you have food in your hand.

Always only food

Critics claim that the dog does not learn anything by training on positive reinforcement, but only carries out the desired behaviour because of the food. But positive reinforcement is much more than just working with food. It is crucial to reward your four-legged friend in training for correct behaviour. A reward does not necessarily have to be food, a common game or your undivided attention also serve as confirmation.

When you train your dog through positive reinforcement, you encourage desired behavior. Strengthen your common bond and your dog learns with joy, which will soon have an effect on your training success and not least on your own motivation.