Why is positive training better than using aversive training methods?
Positive reinforcement training often takes longer than aversive training techniques to achieve the 'desired' behaviour BUT positive reinforcement provides genuine reliable results.
If a dog shows a behaviour which results in a perceived positive outcome, he or she is more likely to show the behaviour again on subsequent occasions – this is known as reinforcement.
In order to change a behaviour you need reinforce the desired one.
"The strongest relationships between dogs and humans are based on cooperation and kindness rather than on human dominance and animal submission. If you choose to use positive techniques when building a relationship with your dog, you will be on your way to establishing and maintaining a connection that increases trust and results in a stronger, healthier bond between you. Put simply, if your dog feels good about you, she will be happier, confident, better behaved, and more inclined to respond to you when you ask her to do something" - Victoria Stilwell
Common misconceptions of positive reinforcement training:
It means stuffing a dog with treats
FALSE: Rewards must have value and therefore only be given for desired behaviour and then weaned off of if required. Some dogs do not work for food, some work for toys, praise or simply the satisfaction of doing a task. I do use treats with my own dogs, certainly not all of the time as once they have learnt a task I wean them onto other forms of reward. Kaiser loves his football, Akiva likes a cuddle and Libby's ultimate rewards is 'free zoomy' time where she can run around like a crazy rabbit for a few minutes. Each to their own.
If you don't have a reward the dog won't behave
FALSE: Rewards may be used as an incentive at the beginning but can slowly phased out until the completed task itself is a reward or it no longer requires it.
*need some more information? read this article*
'Red Zone' Dogs cannot be trained with positive reinforcement
FALSE: Positive reinforcement is a safer and far more effective method of training especially for 'Red Zone' dogs. Using aggressive methods with dogs showing aggression can very easily lead to dog-handler conflict which is unnecessary and counter productive. Most dogs that display aggression are frustrated or anxious (unless they've been trained to show aggression i.e. security work, but that's a different matter). Don't believe me? Ask yourself - would a happy, relaxed and confident dog (in that particular situation where aggression is shown) feel the need to show aggression? The answer is no, if the dog was confident and relaxed in that situation they wouldn't need to show aggression. Positive reinforcement helps build trust and understanding to work through these problems.
*another great article - click here*
Big boisterous dogs do not respond to gentle training
FALSE: Try telling that to my 5 BIG dogs - they weren't all gentle giants originally. If positive reinforcement methods did not work, nobody small (like myself) would ever own big dogs! Big boisterous dogs and other animals can all learn through this method. Even zoos working with semi-wild animals use these methods.