Why Choose a Positive Reinforcement Trainer?
We believe in using positive reinforcement to teach our dogs everything we want them to do, whether that's walking nicely on leash, keeping all four feet on the floor when greeting guests, or coming when called. There are a few reasons we use reward based training methods:
That's How Behavior Works!
BEHAVIORS THAT GET REINFORCED GET REPEATED! If we reinforce behaviors that we like- such as focusing on us or sitting when asked- then those are the behaviors that your dog will repeat! Dogs don't think in terms of behaving & misbehaving- all they know is what works for them (what gets them a desired outcome) and what doesn't. Thanks to lots of scientific studies, we now know that the way to get a specific behavior to be repeated is to reinforce it. The more those good behaviors get repeated & reinforced, the more they become habitual- meaning your dog will start to perform those behaviors on their own, without much work from you. If your dog is constantly performing behaviors that you like, they're going to be far less likely to perform behaviors you don't like!
It's Easy for Everyone!
Using positive reinforcement means that everyone in the family can be involved in training your dog- and if you got the dog as a family, then everyone SHOULD be involved in training! If everyone is on the same page about how to handle the dog, then your dog will learn how to behave infinitely faster. While it could be potentially dangerous for a child to wield a remote shock collar or issue leash corrections, they can certainly safely handle a few treats. Positive reinforcement can also be utilized by people with physical disabilities or other health issues... it truly is fun for the whole family!
Communicate Clearly with Your Dog!
Training a dog can be difficult because, if you think about it, you're trying to teach someone how to do something, but your learner can't speak at all and doesn't understand English. Have you ever tried to give directions to someone who doesn't speak your language? Or have you ever been a tourist in a foreign country and become frustrated when you couldn't understand anyone around you? That's the world your dog lives in every day! Using positive reinforcement training can take some of the confusion away- you'll learn how to "speak dog" a little better, and your dog will learn how to better understand what you want from them. All you have to do is show them what you want them to do, reward them when they do it, and voila!
Positive Reinforcement can Help to Tire Out Your Dog!
Yes, really! One of the main causes of problem behaviors in dogs is boredom. When dogs aren't given a "job" to do, they will find one on their own, and that might mean barking at everything they see, chewing on your table legs, or having a go at re-landscaping your back yard. While physical exercise is important, mental exercise is even more crucial to keeping your dog tuckered out. Did you know that mental exercise is more physically tiring than physical exercise alone? Think about when you do your taxes or studying for a final in college- you're barely moving around, if at all, but when you're done you're exhausted. That's because your brain was firing on all cylinders for an extended period of time, and the same is true for dogs! Positive reinforcement training requires dogs to be constantly thinking and offering you behaviors they think will get them rewarded. This is SUPER tiring for your four legged friend, which means a 20 minute training session can tire them out more than 20 minutes at the dog park. This means that training sessions can be kept short & sweet, perfect for busy families!
It's Safer than the Alternatives...
Studies have shown that training using aversive training techniques (leash corrections, prong collars, shock/e-collars, etc) can lead to an increase in aggressive behavior. Aside from the emotional side effects that come with using punitive training techniques, you also have to consider the physical effects. Leash corrections, prong collars, shock/e-collars, and other physically punitive techniques work via avoidance- the dog seeks to avoid the pain, fear, and/or discomfort that comes from receiving a physical punishment. If these tools and techniques didn't cause pain, fear, and discomfort in your dog, they simply wouldn't work. Positive reinforcement training seeks to always keep the animal's welfare at the forefront of the training plan. Your dog didn't choose to come into your life, you chose to get them, and part of owning a dog is taking the time to train them in a way that is fair to them. We at Pup to Perfection don't believe it is fair to your dog to cause them pain, fear, discomfort, or stress simply to accomplish a training goal.
We strive to make training as enjoyable as possible. You'll find we call everything a "game," and that's because simply having the mindset of treating training exercises as a game means it's less stressful and more fun. Training is NOT a destination, it is a journey. Your dog is always learning, whether or not you're actively "training" them, so working with your dog is something you will do for their entire life. So if training is fun for you and your dog, then you'll be more likely to do it! That's why all of our training games are focused on you and your dog having a good time together. Training is seriously important, but that doesn't mean we can't have a good time, too!
Punitive Tools & Methods Just Aren't Necessary
Several countries, such as England, Iceland, and some Scandinavian countries, have made tools such as prong collars and shock/e-collars illegal. And yet, they get on just fine without them! That right there proves that these tools are simply not necessary to own and train dogs. But probably the best example of how unnecessary these tools are is looking at all the amazing behaviors trainers all over the world are able to teach all different types of animals to perform. From teaching giraffes to follow a target in order to move them from one paddock to another, to fish being taught to swim through hoops, and even teaching predators like lions to come at the sound of a whistle, all of these behaviors and more are taught with positive reinforcement. In many cases, these trainers cannot safely even be in the same enclosure as the animal they are training, yet they are able to teach these wild animals to perform VERY unnatural behaviors with nothing but well timed & placed rewards. If we can teach wild animals to sit still for veterinary procedures, then we can certainly teach your dog- a domesticated animal that has been specifically bred to want to work with humans- to walk nicely on leash or come when called just the same. And if these punitive tools & methods aren't necessary, then why choose to use them at all?