Dog behavior, A Compassionate, Sensible, Effective Approach 

If you want to raise a sociable and friendly dog you’ll need an expert dog trainer to help you. Dogs are just like kids, they need discipline too. If you have kids, we know you can relate. Kids can be a source of entertainment but they can also exhibit nerve-wracking meltdowns that will make you question what you did wrong to deserve such torture. Well, if your dogs exhibit bad behavior, you’ll probably want to take them back to their previous owners or even contemplate selling them. Admit it, sometimes our dogs drive us crazy! We know you love your dog and if at some point, you’ve thought about these things, do know that dog training can help make your life better. Dog trainers have disciplined thousands of dogs in America. The reason why dog training works is because of the underlying principles behind the technique used.

Different approaches are used in dog training and the kind of strategy your dog trainer chooses to use depends on their predilection and what they think is suitable to your dog’s needs. Nevertheless, you can choose to do a trial-and-error method to see what works or you can stick to a dog training technique that has been hailed as the most sensible and most compassionate approach. The decision is entirely up to you.

The best approach by far is using positive reinforcement. This is way better compared to punishment or negative reinforcement. The majority of dog trainers and dog behaviorists like Karen Pryor prefer this form of discipline because of the amazing results. Clicker training is an example of positive reinforcement. It’s a technique that’s proven to be fun both for the dog and the trainer/owner. And if it’s done regularly for sure your dog will be able to master it.

If you choose to train your dog yourself you have to be trustworthy, consistent, and calm. Otherwise, your dog is going to be afraid of you and the training will cause your dog to feel stressed.

When you’re using positive reinforcement timing is everything. Without timing, your dog won’t be able to associate the reward with the activity. When you give rewards, you have to give them immediately right after your pet does the desired action. And when we say immediately it has to be within seconds. When the timing is off, it can confuse your dog. For example, if you say “sit” and your dog sits but you give the treat when the dog already stood back up, your dog will think that standing is the desirable behavior. Be careful when using positive reinforcement because if you give treats for an unwanted behavior, your dog will likely repeat the unwanted behavior.

Another important thing to remember when training your dog is to use short words. Don’t use sentences because you’re not training humans, you’re training animals. Their level of comprehension is not the same as yours. If you use long sentences to make them obey, you’ll only get frustrated because your dog won’t do it. Examples of command words you can use during dog training include watch, stay, sit, down, up, off, leave it, and heel. Say these words in a calm and relaxed voice. You should also brief everyone in your household about the command cues you want to impose. Again, this is to avoid confusion.


One of the questions pet owners ask is what type of treats are used in positive reinforcement training. Well, it has to be something that your pet values. It may take a few experiments until you see what your dog really wants. It could be a dog treat, a walk in the park, a chew toy, or praise. Either way, you’ll know your dog loves it based on its facial expression and body language. So again, positive reinforcement is a safe, sensible, and time-tested strategy in dog training.

Nick White is the owner of Off Leash K9 Training. He has over 80 dog training franchise locations throughout the United States. He currently hosts the A&E show, America's Top Dog.

Author: Nick White

Nick White is the owner of Off Leash K9 Training. He has over 80 dog training franchise locations throughout the United States. He currently hosts the A&E show, America's Top Dog.