The Power of Positive (Science Based) Dog Training (Part 5)

Welcome back! For the last several weeks we have been discussing the Power of Positive Dog Training; specifically the science behind it, and why some old school techniques that are still around are long overdue to be thrown out for good. Our focus has primarily been on basic obedience, and rewarding behavior that we want to see repeated. However, there are times when we want to see a behavior decreased, or there is a behavioral issue that may need discipline. Let’s discuss how to handle these things in a positive manner.

Dogs, very much like children, need rules and discipline. When the rules are broken, there are positive ways to discipline your dog, just like there are positive ways to discipline a child. As I asked in a previous segment, “would you pin your three year old down to get her to submit?” Of course not. If your two year old son had a habit of jumping up on you when you least expected it, would you knee him in the chest, to get him to quit? No. There is no need for this type of discipline with dogs either.

Dogs, again, much like children, also need consistency. Dogs thrive when there is routine and consistent patterns of behavior. Without consistency, the dog’s world is in chaos, and it shows through his behavior. One of the things that I find puzzling is why people have trouble being consistent with the rules and discipline for their dogs, yet find it easy to set rules and give discipline to their children. We don’t think twice about withholding desert after dinner when a child refuses to clean his room. Why, then, would we hesitate to withhold a treat or toy from our dog unless the dog performs the behavior asked? “You want the ball, lay down and wait politely for five seconds. You got up, sorry no ball for you.” There is nothing aversive about that, yet it is an effective form of punishment, just like it would be in children.

Come back next week and we will discuss the power of using a “time out” as well as wrap up the series The Power of Positive (Science-Based) Dog Training. Have a great week, and I will see you next week!