Reward-Based Positive Reinforcement

What do you do, exactly, with your dog treats? How can you get the most out of them? We’ll cover all of this below!

Reinforcement is simply a word meaning exactly what it implies; you are ‘reinforcing’ a particular behavior or action. You are encouraging it to happen the same way again.

The positive descriptor simply means you are adding something to the training. While most people assume ‘positive’ must be good and ‘negative’ must be bad, positive simply relates to addition and negative subtraction.

How to Use the Treats

If your dog does something you like and you want him/her to repeat the behavior, hand out a dog treat immediately after the action takes place! This is called positive reinforcement because you are reinforcing the behavior by adding a treat (positive= addition) or encouraging your dog to repeat it.

Example: The Dog Trick

You’re trying to teach a dog jump/hurdle. To provide incentive and reinforcement, you reward your dog with a treat after every successful jump. This is positive reinforcement because you are adding something to encourage the jump.

Your Electric Collar can be used as a Clicker

Have you heard of a dog clicker? These are simple devices, shaped like a button that makes a ‘click’ sound when pressed. They are just meant to be used to mark a behavior.

What is the idea? It might take you 3 seconds or so to reach into your pocket and grab a treat to reward desired behavior. During these three seconds, your dog might do something else, and become confused as you reward him. Which behavior is he being rewarded for?

It takes a mere fraction of a second to press a button! There is absolutely no chance for other, confusing behaviors to occur. You ‘click’ your clicker to let your dog know a treat is coming.

Since your dog is essentially wearing a beeping device around his neck, you can use this to replace the dog clicker! When your dog does something you like, press the ‘beep’ button on your collar to let your dog know a treat is coming, and reward!

Be sure to use a different setting for every training type. Use separate settings for your recall, your clicker, your flag/boundary training, etc. Using the same setting for separate things can become confusing.