How to Use Positive Reinforcement With Your Dog

Posted on Mar 30 2016 - 12:39pm by Susan Bewley

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for a brand new pet site – Why Does My Dog.  I received product and/or monetary payment for this promotion. All opinions in this article, however, are honest and my own.

Want to know a better way of training your dog? See why positive reinforcement works here!

Why Does My Dog was created to help dog owners everywhere learn ore about Positive Reinforcement, and empower dog owners to feel more comfortable learning ways to help the relationship be more and more rewarding. What is Positive Reinforcement exactly and how do you work with your dog?  Aly, Founder of Why Does My Dog, has some answers for you. Positive Reinforcement happens when you present a desirable reinforcer as a consequence to a behavior. This causes the behavior to increase. The rule of thumb is if you are providing reinforcement, even if it is not conscious, your dog will repeat the behavior. Reinforcement can be anything, attention, treats or toys. It is whatever  motivates your dog.

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior emphasizes that animal training, behavior prevention strategies, and behavior modification programs should follow the scientifically based guidelines of positive reinforcement, operant conditioning, classical conditioning, desensitization, and counter conditioning. They recommend that veterinarians should not send dogs to trainers who practice dominance and submission theories. They also say that punishment techniques should not be used on dogs. Veterinary researchers have found that aggressive dogs who are trained using aversive techniques do not improve, in fact most of them get even more aggressive!

To learn more about Aly’s approach and for more short dog training tips, please go to


Disclosure: Budget Earth received monetary compensation for this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from our readers’ opinions.

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Susan Bewley is a professional writer who has been writing content online & in print format for over 10 years. As well, she is an alumni of the University of Louisville with a Masters Degree in Special Education. When not working as an online business consultant or ghost writing, she can be found writing on Budget Earth, on her own novel, or working with various entities in the pet industry.

51 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Michelle Elizondo March 30, 2016 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    I love animals. Good for positive reinforcement.

  2. Sarah L March 31, 2016 at 3:39 am - Reply

    Positive reinforcement works for people as well as dogs.

  3. Christina G. March 31, 2016 at 4:38 am - Reply

    This is a good article. I will pass it on to my fellow dog lovers. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Rachel Dean March 31, 2016 at 7:20 am - Reply

    Positive reinforcement works for everyone! Even so, I’m still having a difficult time potty training our youngest dog.

  5. RT April 1, 2016 at 3:24 am - Reply

    I started out (when the were a puppy) with clicker training, Click…YAY (good potty, sit, down) my happy voice followed by a treat and petting. Next step removed clicker but kept all the other things. Now they are seniors….after potty outside, I still say YAY good potty and they still love it and wait for my praise and affection.

  6. bethany maxwell April 1, 2016 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Good philosophy!

  7. michele soyer April 1, 2016 at 10:58 am - Reply

    You need to use this technique to have a more managable well behaved dog.. they do work

  8. Danielle April 1, 2016 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Positive reinforcement is the only way to go, both for dogs and kids!

  9. Sue Mullaney April 1, 2016 at 11:44 am - Reply

    I don’t have a dog myself but I know people who do have dogs and they all say positive reinforcement is the best way to train their dogs. If I did have a dog, that would be only training I would ever use, I would NEVER use any type of negative “punishment” type of training!

  10. Amy Green April 1, 2016 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    This is a really important article. As more people becoming pet caretakers, they need to understand that the best way for pets to get along with you and your loved ones is with love and kindness. Thanks for backing up this necessary idea!

  11. Sara Zielinski April 1, 2016 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    These are great tips for using positive reinforcement with dogs.

  12. Sara April 1, 2016 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    This is a good blog about your pet to no have to teach yourself how to be with your dog

  13. clojo9372 April 1, 2016 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    I ALWAYS validate my dogs. I have one dog who is 10 years old and she still looks to me to see if whatever she is doing is acceptable. She always seeks my approval. I go to her and give her affection to let her know she is a wonderful dog and how much I love her and approve of her behavior. She is the best! 🙂

  14. Mia April 1, 2016 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    I have found that pets, and biscuits can go a long way to getting the right behavior.

  15. sachin April 1, 2016 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    Nyc article. positive enforcements is for everyone.i will try it on my pet.lets see what the results goes.

  16. KATE SARSFIELD April 1, 2016 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Give me a couple of cats anyday!

  17. Amber Ludwig April 1, 2016 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Love this!! Best way for anyone to learn I think!! You will get a way better response with positivity than punishment!

  18. Karen Jaras April 1, 2016 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Positive reinforcement works well for large breed pups to keep them well centered.

  19. ANN*H April 1, 2016 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    They say to use positive enforcement with children too. I agree with using it for dogs too. I hate when people teach dogs to be aggressive. Its all on how they are brought up.

  20. Jeanna Massman April 1, 2016 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool to use for behavioral modification in pets!

  21. Nena Sinclair April 1, 2016 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    Great article and makes perfect sense!

  22. Sherry Compton April 2, 2016 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Our little girl is a part of the family, and just like for people, positive reinforcement, is needed for dogs, too. Praise them when they are good through words, actions, and just body language.

  23. Michelle Combs April 2, 2016 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Great article

  24. marthalynn April 2, 2016 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Great reminder! Positive reinforcement is so great for animals as well as with people. I can’t wait to try this out on our pup. Thanks for sharing

  25. katie April 2, 2016 at 10:52 am - Reply

    These are great examples. We use treats on walks with our dog and he behaves much better.

  26. Renee Rousseau April 2, 2016 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Not a dog owner but I have to agree on the use of positive reinforcement with any pet!

  27. kKatherine April 2, 2016 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    Our Kallie is a 3 yr old lab puppy and although she means no harm and is a big baby, it is irritating when she jumps up on people. This is a habit we have to nip in the bud!

  28. Kara Kudro April 2, 2016 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    Great writing, Pets just like people do better with positive than negative reinforcement. It’s good to remember that.

  29. Linda Szymoniak April 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    I have four rescued Treeing Walker Coonhounds – my two boys, especially, need more training. I’m also involved in animal rescue and deal with other animals. Being able to use positive reinforcement for all these animals would be great.

  30. gale mccarron April 2, 2016 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    i have such a hard time training dogs. I think they know what a big pushover I am and push the limits. (smiles)

  31. Judy Thomas April 2, 2016 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Great article. Positive reinforcement works so much better than punishment. I hate to see people punish their dogs.

  32. michelle elizondo April 2, 2016 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    I agree.

  33. Sue E April 2, 2016 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    It is still painful to read anything concerning dogs!! We had to put our beloved Jasper to sleep in October, after 16 1/2 years of being a member of our family!!! Our cat looked around for him for a while! Everybody asks us if we are going to get another dog – like another dog can stop the pain!! We have talked about it, but it is too soon for me!!

    I am really glad to see articles that are written helping dogs/animals.

    • Susan Bewley April 4, 2016 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t think we ever really recover that piece of our heart where our dogs and other furry family members lived. The precious memories though are things that can keep us going throughout our lives though. While it hurts, I could never imagine a house without a dog again.

  34. Kara Kudro April 2, 2016 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    Great article, pets love us and ultimately want to be loved in return. I do agree that positive reinforcement goes a long way, not just with pets but people too.

  35. ellen beck April 3, 2016 at 1:55 am - Reply

    In my opinion, it really is the only way to trin dog is through positive reinforcement. There are aids though to correct for things like pulling on the leash (gentle leaders) but after awhile of positive reinforcement, theey stop pulling and seek you and your approval.

  36. Margot C April 3, 2016 at 4:14 am - Reply

    We are big on positive reinforcement too. If my dog has hold of something taht he shouldn’t I just offer him another thing (his toy) and tell him then taht he is a good boy.

  37. Barbara April 3, 2016 at 4:49 am - Reply

    I’m glad to see this is becoming the rule more than the exception. It breaks my heart to see dogs (or any animal) be physically punished.

  38. Wanda Tracey April 3, 2016 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    This is a great article to have read.I love my pets and I treat them with great respect.Thanks for this post.

  39. Dorothy Hubbard April 3, 2016 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    I totally agree, positive reinforcement works better than negitive,, both in animals and humans.

  40. Amy Green April 3, 2016 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    One thing I really loved about this article is that it demonstrates how, over time, people have become more patient and are actually learning and trying to figure out why dogs do what they do. I like that people are becoming less dismissive and abandoning the usual, “Oh, they’re just doing that because they’re a dog.” They learn that their dog’s behavior has real meaning.

  41. Natalie April 3, 2016 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I am interested in buying a puppy and this is a great article!

  42. Pamela James April 3, 2016 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this article! Positive reinforcement works for Everyone! Even adults 🙂 But sometime people forget this when it comes to dogs

  43. Pamela James April 3, 2016 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    It always gets the better results & will make the trainer feel better also.

  44. Ann April 3, 2016 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    Yup! Classic behavioral theory, straight out of Psych 101. (For clinicians and scholars alike, these principles are often discussed with regards to children!)
    I think that overall, this article was a good overview and introduction to something potentially very useful. However, I think that it begins to wander off in the second half (para. opening with “The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior…”). In my opinion, this paragraph crams in WAY too much terminology/jargon (without explanations or definitions) than is needed here.

  45. Sandy Weinstein April 5, 2016 at 1:09 am - Reply

    i think this is very important to use positive reinforcement. otherwise your pet may become scared of you and less obedient. i use treats and talking to get my girls to do what i want, treats always work. i have also used the clicker in the past and this works well too.

  46. Michelle elizondo April 6, 2016 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Im all for positive reiniforcement.

  47. Alex O'Donnell April 10, 2016 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Always love learning about how to train dogs! What a great article.

  48. Theresa Sigourney April 11, 2016 at 12:00 am - Reply

    My poor dog was abused before we rescued her. I have been reassuring her every day. I have to undo what was done

  49. Rana Durham April 16, 2016 at 10:09 am - Reply

    first, i have to say that the dog and little girl are too cute. I love this article because it has such a positive outlook plus i need help here with my dogs.

  50. Laurie P April 27, 2016 at 9:24 am - Reply

    I wish more people used positive reinforcement…..some people are just not meant to own pets.

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