There is a long term discussion that has been going on between two different schools of thought that exist between dog owners. One that believes in punishment and the other is positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement refers to instead of punishing your dog; you ignore the behavior you do not like and reward the ones you appreciate. Rewards can be any form of treats, life rewards(walks, games, etc.) or walks. The idea is to eliminate the violence and instead focus on the right behavior.
Clicker training is another effective way of teaching positive reinforcement, but if you don’t want to use the clicker, you can still use treats for your pet.
The punishment is often not very useful in disciplining as it can make your dog aggressive — a very unbecoming quality for an emotional support animal.
Below we have outlined some essential points that can help you discipline your dog via positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement is a collective effort. This means every member of the family has to contribute towards the training. Considering you don’t need to speak in a firm tone, use force, or be in the danger of hurting your pet, getting the family involved shouldn’t be too tough.
If its other methods of training like leash correction, your child might not be able to control the situation, but with positive reinforcement, all you need to do is give your child a couple of treats and teach them the commands that you are following and voila! You have an assistant.
Keep Your Communication Clear
For positive reinforcement to work, you need to communicate clearly. You have the decision making power and are telling the dog what you want him to do. If they do it, they get rewarded otherwise not.
When they get rewarded, it is clear to them what it is that they are doing right. Punishing, on the other hand, is slightly complicated.
The message of the scolding is never clear, and all you could end up doing is teach your dog that they should avoid the accident when they are with you. This is why if you have a defecating dog, it is very tough to catch them in the act.
Due to this, a lapse in communication punishment is a highly ineffective way to train a dog.
Teach Multiple Behaviors
Training methods like leash correction and punishment are a very messy way to teach your dog anything. In the case of behavioral issues, it can worsen the situation even further.
Aggressive dogs can get even more aggressive, and shy dogs might never come out of their shell.
Dogs also have anxiety issues, and living in the constant fear of not knowing when your next punishment is going to be dealt is no way to live.
This is also where clickers have proven to be the most effective, according to multiple studies. For fearful as well as aggressive dogs, clickers bring about a sense of peace.
Encourages Mental Stimulation
A bored dog is the worst; all of us know that. It is often because of boredom that animals develop other behavioral issues like inflicting considerable scale damage on the house.
Training keeps that boredom contained and offers a good outlet for energy.
Once you have decided to give your training through positive reinforcement, you might be surprised at the amount of energy that they manage to burn off just by learning how to follow commands.
Keep It Light
Training sessions aren’t supposed to be a drag. They are short, upbeat, and positive. These sessions don’t have to be dragged out. Once the dog starts to associate the session with good things in their life, they too will begin to enjoy it.
You dog is bound to become eager to learn, even if it is just for the prize at the end.
Foster a Stronger Bond
Dogs are more than pets for most people. They are an integral part of the family. Positive reinforcement strengthens the bond both of you have. Other methods to train your emotional support animal might be useful for correcting behavior (barely ). Positive reinforcement goes a step ahead.
It corrects behavior while ensuring that the dog has a certain amount of trust in the actions you take for it.
Think of it in your case. Would you like to be beaten up every time you did something wrong, or would you like to be talked through an issue?
In a supportive environment, it is much easier to thrive and create a bond.
Other training methods might not make your dog love you less, but for sure, they will never be able to showcase their personality.
Dealing With Issues
Positive reinforcement works through a steady chain of consistency and patience. It might be a slow method as your dog might jeep doing the wrong thing over and over again. You might get frustrated and want to snap; it is only human nature. But remember it is not worth it.
They might not get the words, but they get the vibes. So, try and be positive, and your dog will pick up on it.
Fear might be a stronger teacher, but it isn’t a way to live. When was the last time someone was happy under a dictator? The answer is never.
You get a dog into your house in the hope they will become a part of the family, but if you can’t take out the time or find the patience within you to treat them well, you may as well not get one.