​​Susan Ward, CPDT-KSA

Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge & Skills Assessed


Positive Reinforcement

Training Basics:

Dogs are learning in every interaction with us whether

we are "training" or not.

Behaviors that are reinforced will be repeated.  Reinforced frequently enough, they can become habit.

Behaviors that are not reinforced will decrease in frequency.

Prevent our dogs from getting reinforced for unwanted behaviors by managing their environment: crates, gates, leashes...

"We really enjoyed the classes. Our previous trainer had us using a prong collar but we are getting better results with the clicker method.

Thank you!"

Kathy & McGee

"Positive Reinforcement" Training can go by many names, most of which are valid and worthy: reward-based training, science-based training, force-free or pain-free training, etc. Regardless of the terminology, the general theory behind this line of thinking remains the same.

If you give your dog a reward (praise, play, food, toys, etc.) when he responds to you or offers an action or a behavior that you like, then that behavior is likely to be repeated.  Your dog learns that good things happen to him when he does the thing you like.

Positive-reinforcement teaching techniques use non- confrontational methods to work a dog’s brain – rewarding positive behavior, ignoring incorrect choices, establishing routines that are incompatible with negative behavior, and reducing the dog's opportunities to make incorrect choices.  Decision-making is influenced without the use of force, and the dog’s trust in the owner is not violated through threatening treatment.

"Force Based" Training  includes methods that punish dogs for making incorrect choices.  It includes "leash corrections" with choke chains or prong collars, physical corrections, harsh reprimands, shock collars,...  These methods can suppress unwanted behavior for a brief time.  It can take many repetitions for dogs to connect the exact behavior that caused the punishment.  This means increased training time.   

  • For many dogs, these methods can cause behavioral side effects such as anxiety and aggression.  

Positive Reinforcement Training is Effective and Fun for Everyone.

Your dog will eagerly work and listen to you.