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Will I Have to Use Training Treats Forever?

training treats

"Sit, Stay, Lay"

Getting your dog to do something for a treat may seem easy but you don't want to have to have training treats on you forever. You just want your dog to learn how to listen. Choosing positive reinforcement training for your dog is the best decision you can make for their health and well being but you may be scared off if you are worried about being reliant on treats. Worry no more! A professional dog trainer will teach you that your dog isn't motivated only by treats and how to work away from having to use them.

The Reward Pyramid

Dogs are just like humans in that they place value on rewards. While we have a monetary system, theirs is based on how much joy the reward brings. Food is a huge motivator for dogs and it is a great tool to help you build new behaviors. In terms of treats, your dog is going to value some more than others. A positive reinforcement dog trainer will ask you to be smart about which rewards you give at various times. High value treats are reserved for learning new behaviors or when distractions are causing difficulty. If you are working on behavior that comes very easily to your dog or you are in a low distraction area, you will give your lowest value training treat. What is below high and low value treats are your dogs natural motivators such as talk, touch, eye contact, or whatever it is that they are wanting at the moment like moving forward on a walk.

Go With The Flow

Being successful training your dog requires that you follow the ebb and flow of their behavior. If your dog is performing well, you can afford to reward with your dog with a lower value reward. If your dog is struggling with a difficult distraction or a complicated command, you may have to raise the value of your reward. When it gets easy challenge your dog to raise their skills, when it gets hard find a way to be successful to keep your dog's confidence up.

It's All About Building a Routine

The goal is to have your dog get as many right answers as possible. Just like Pavlov's dog, your dog will start to perform the right behavior without you asking and without a treat in hand as that routine in cemented in. Just like with humans, it can take 30-90 consistent repetitions to form a new habit, how long it takes you to get in that practice is totally up to you. Remember that, your dog will be as consistent as you are. It is just as crucial, if not more, to train your own habits if you hope to train your dogs

Practice makes perfect

The key to achieving in goal is being fully committed to it. Your dog will need regular and consistent practice to change their habits in the long term. If they don't use it, they lose it! Stay consistent and you will see success without treats.

Do you have a question about training with treats? Book a free in-home meet and greet with one of our Knoxville dog trainer today!

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When Can My Puppy Start Training?

You bring home a cute, cuddly puppy home to love and enjoy. You soon realize that chewing, potty accidents, barking, biting and more are going to be a part of your everyday life, if you don't do something soon. Puppy training becomes a must have but when can your puppy can get started?

Old Habits Die Hard

We have all heard the saying "old habits die hard." This is true for puppy training as well. It is much easier to create a good habit with a new puppy instead of trying to break bad habits that have already been formed. For this reason, it is best to start puppy training as soon as you can. A professional puppy trainer can help you understand how to put good boundaries in place to prevent bad habits from forming.They can bring attention to behaviors that may be cute today but will be annoying tomorrows, like jumping in your lap to get attention.

Energizer Bunny

Puppies can have an astonishing amount of energy all day and sometimes all night. Puppies often take little naps and wake up ready to go again and again. This can be frustrating for their owners after a long day at work or especially, while they are trying to get a good night's sleep. After playing fetch and going on walks, it seems like you can never tire them out. However, a puppy trainer can help come up with activities and games that drain not only physical energy but mental energy as well. Draining mental energy will leave your new puppy exhausted and you'll be happy to relax right along with them.

Vaccines Matter

Puppy trainers see a lot of dogs every single day so it is important to consider your puppy's safety before booking puppy training lessons. Your puppy should have completed their puppy shots and boosters before beginning class to ensure they do not contract any disease. This is usually completed around 12 weeks of age and you are free to start training immediately after.

Is your puppy up-to-date on vaccines and ready to start puppy training? Book a FREE Meet and Greet with a Knoxville puppy trainer today!

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Stop Your Dog From Running Away

Boredom Busters: Breaking Bad-behavior Patterns

Your dog has a good life. Car rides, treats, toys, walks and love fill her days. Then why does she try to run away each time the door is open? It’s a complex problem, but the answer is usually simple: Boredom.

Just like people, dogs are smart, social creatures who are susceptible to the same pitfalls we fall prey to when we don’t feel stimulated. For example, many of us find that unhealthy habits emerge when our day feels tedious or boring. For humans, these unhealthy habits might include overeating, nail biting and procrastination. For dogs, bad habits associated with boredom might mean running away, digging, destructive chewing, endless barking and other unwanted behaviors.

Though all dogs are vulnerable, destructive or unwanted behaviors associated with boredom seem to be most likely to be a problem for working breeds. Huskies, for example, are notorious diggers; Great Pyrenees might wander. Retrievers might chew when feeling bored.

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Keeping your dog stimulated is the best way to combat boredom. Relying on a positive reinforcement training method to teach your dog good manners and even tricks will keep him engaged and help discourage running away and other undesirable behavior. Additionally, a training program will keep his mental synapses firing, diminish boredom and even him relax.

Other things you can do to prevent boredom and help curb your dog’s destructive behavior might include: Choosing the right toys for your dog can also help diminish boredom. Food-dispensing puzzle toys and Kong-type chew toys give your dog a yummy reward for cracking the code.

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Instead of just turning your dog loose in your fenced yard to entertain herself, play with her. Turn outside time into an engaging experience. Take your training to new environments. Adding new distractions – like those in the park or on the square downtown – to your dog’s training routine can create new challenges, in a good way! Even walking a new route through your neighborhood can stimulate your dog and expose her to new sights, smells and sounds.

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Helping your dog break out of a boredom rut can not only stop unwanted behaviors, but can also strengthen your relationship. My Curious Canine’s positive reinforcement training techniques teach you how to build a connection with your dog built on respect and proper communication. For more information, learn more about my dog training style or contact me to book an appointment.

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What Style Of Dog Training Is Best For You?

The Real Difference

Take a trip to a dog park on any weekend morning and you’ll likely see a host of people interacting with pets. One might be slinging dog treats and singing praise; another might have their poor pup trapped in a painful prong collar. Both dogs might be well behaved for now – but the differences between the two dog training methods are night and day.

Positive Reinforcement: A Powerful Training Tool

There’s more to providing your dog with positive reinforcement training than pushing treats. Positive reinforcement is a powerful dog training tool. The motive behind this method is fairly simple and easy to understand: Dogs learn good behavior by being rewarded for when they do well. And on the opposite side, punishment doesn’t have to come as a reprimand or through physical force.

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Trainers and behavior consultants who rely on positive reinforcement methods often use verbal cues, dog toys, hand signals, treats, clickers, and even games to help modify dog behavior. Through these methods and tools, a dog trainer can correct bad habits, help your dog learn commands, and even teach your dog tricks you can show off to friends and family. Positive reinforcement dog training uses rewards to instill good behavior and correct inappropriate behavior when needed.

Punishment Isn’t Always Productive

Other training methods assert that punishing your dog for bad behavior is what instills good behavior going forward. Popularized under catchy buzzword names like “alpha dog training”, punishment-based behavior modification methods rely on tools like shock collars, choke collars, physical force and dominance to correct bad behavior and try to teach dogs that humans are “pack leaders” who call the shots.

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In many cases, these methods rely on a single interpretation of dog psychology and might involve punishments that mimic fighting and forcefully teach submission. For example, to correct a dog jumping up in excitement, the dog trainer might force a knee to their chest. A positive reinforcement dog trainer, on the other hand, would aim to replace the behavior with a controlled technique through a command like "sit" or "settle".

Which Side is Science On?

positive reinforcement dog training

It might not be as complicated as brain surgery, but it is brain science. According to a study in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior, confrontational and dominance-based training methods such as hitting dogs, intimidating them with punitive force or dominance actually do very little to correct dogs' behavior. In fact, the student suggested that these dog training methods would actually increase the chances that dogs subjected to them will be fearful and aggressive.

My Curious Canine's positive reinforcement dog training techniques teach you how to build a relationship with your dog built on respect and proper communication. For more information, learn more about my dog training style or contact me to book an appointment.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog