Positive Reinforcement Training with Mocha #PoochPawty #PositiveReinforcement #DogTraining

What do you do when a loving pet does the unexpected and hurts a family member? Unfortunately this happened to us. What we consider a member of our family, our dog, bit my daughter. We didn’t know what to do – How could we ever trust him again? We found an animal behaviorist that works with positive reinforcement training, and it changed our lives.

Many experts believe animals learn faster and retain the most information when taught through positive reinforcement. This type of training means the dog gets something he likes when he does what you consider to be a desirable behavior. This can be treats, time playing with a favorite toy, and even just love and attention. Dogs will repeat behaviors that are positively reinforced. In fact, a dog will try even harder in hopes of earning approval. You can use this concept both to train a dog to do something as well as stop an unwanted behavior.

Our dog did not have extreme behavior issues, and that is why the bite was so unexpected. He did have some behaviors that we thought were just part of his personality and not able to get rid of; jumping up on people, mild jealousy of another pet, and being somewhat territorial around food. Positive reinforcement training has helped control these issues. We used to yell at him and put him in his crate, but that just seemed to make it worse. His anxiety, defensiveness and being territorial increased with our level of anger and discipline. Now ignoring unwanted behavior instead of yelling at him and drawing more attention to it, and reinforcing good actions with love and treats or distracting him from making bad choices, makes him show the wanted behaviors instead of the negative ones. For example, if he starts to show jealousy toward our cat, distracting him by telling him to go get his ball and play fetch or putting a treat in his blue ball to occupy him is a much better option for both of us than yelling and disciplining him. It is amazing how the words “Go get your ball!” have changed the mood in our home!

Amazing Treat Ball for Dogs #PoochPawty #DogTraining #PositiveReinforcement

I won’t lie, it is a lot of work to retrain you, your family and your pet’s behaviors. If you love your pet, it is worth every minute. Our home has gone from yelling and not trusting our dog, to a positive environment where we are playing lots of fetch and giving lots of love!