Understanding Positive vs. Punishment Reinforcement Training

Understanding Positive vs. Punishment Reinforcement Training

If you are a dog owner, chances are, you have had to provide at least some training for your dog. This usually begins when they are a puppy, with housebreaking, and goes on to more advanced socialization and basic commands. Dog training is essential for a healthy, happy dog and socialization is required to acclimate them to the world and teach them how to behave with other pets and people.

Sometimes, though, our pets come to us without those important skills, such as after adoption. Adopted pets usually have many behavioral issues that need to be modified. The team at Schertz Animal Hospital is here to explain positive rewards vs. discipline based training methods, and what to expect with each of these.

training your dog

What Is Positive, Rewards-Based Dog Training?

In a nutshell, positive reinforcement training means you reward the behaviors you want to see from your dog and ignore the others. It sounds easy, giving your pet a reward (treats, toys, playtime, etc) for any good behavior, but there is more to it than that. You must identify the behaviors you want them to change (barking, chewing, accidents around the home, etc.), then try to understand why the dog is doing it.

When the behavior comes up, redirect your pet to a behavior you want using your rewards. This must be repeated each time in order to reinforce the reward with the new behavior, while avoiding stress or anxiety. It takes time, patience, and effort, but it works!

Is Discipline Training Effective or Just Mean?

Discipline-based or dominance-based dog training is controversial. This method employs acting assertively or aggressively toward your pet in order to establish dominance. The Alpha dog approach is based on the idea that wolves, dogs’ predecessors, establish a hierarchy within the pack and this informs how other wolves behave. 

This social style is largely debated as we do not know exactly why social orders are established in wolves, and for what purposes. The same is true among our household canines as well. This type of training involves submission holds, roll-overs, etc. to teach the pet to submit to the owner. In a sense, you are teaching them to fear a negative response. While this approach can work, many pet owners feel uncomfortable with the methods. 

Your Perfect (or Not So Perfect) Pet

There are several types of training for dogs out there, and it can be confusing to find the right training method for your furry one. The Schertz team can help you sort out the various types and what works best for your Rover. To learn more, please give us a call.

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!