To Treat or Not To Treat?
Positive reinforcement trainers will often hear people say that it doesn’t work for their dog and they prefer to use “other methods”. It may be the case that it doesn’t work, but it is not because the methods just don’t work, it is because they are using them wrong. Possibly the single most important factor in training, is timing. The following blog is a good example of someone who thought it didn’t work, but soon realised why.
There is a difference between using positive reinforcement and using it correctly, and that is the difference between failing or not. It needs to be used consistently and always remember timing is crucial. The rewards for both you and your dog can be something great.
This routine of timing, criteria and rate of reinforcement can be known as the Bob Bailey trinity. Basically the good thing needs to come immediately to reinforce the behaviour. When being increased it needs to be at a rate that is not too quick for the dog or training will be hindered. For example, when teaching stay, move away too fast, too soon or too far can cause the dog to come after you, not learning what stay is. You need to be aware of how far you can go to keep within the dogs training.
If training isn’t working for your dog, take a step back and see what you might be doing wrong, better yet get someone else to watch what you are doing and ask for constructive criticism. If this still fails….get a trainer, they will point out what you can improve on.