How to Use Positive Reinforcement When Training Pets

Training a Dog

Have you ever caught your pet eating your dinner or chewing up your favorite shoes? It can be an automatic reflex to yell at them or try to push them away, but that’s actually the worst thing you can do. Pets can experience bad feelings just as you do. They can even become scared of you if you show your anger.

Training pets can be work but they also want you to please their humans too. Here are a few tips to help get you through that naughty pet stage so you both can live peacefully together.

1. Ignore them.

Is your pet being bad? Unless another pet or a child is in danger, or the pet is getting into something harmful to their health, simply ignore their behavior. Even if you respond negatively, some pets will repeat that bad behavior just to get a reaction out of you again – especially if you’ve been ignoring them.

2. Reinforce positive behavior.

If your pet does something good, give them a treat. If they’re down on the floor and you don’t want them to jump up on the counter, table, or fancy couch, hand them a treat while down on the floor. They’ll be more likely in the future to stay in areas where they get the treats and the most attention.

3. Create a pet zone.

A dog or cat can become confused if you don’t allow them to get fur or hair all over the couch, but also when they’re not allowed on the coffee or dining room tables. Be sure that they have their own safe zone in a room. It can contain their bed, scratching post, toys, and a soft cushion. Place these items in a spot where people can’t trip over them, but try to keep them as close to the human seating area as possible.

4. Use common training words.

If your dog is excited when meeting new friends and tries to jump onto them, use a common word such as “sit”. Soon they’ll understand what the word means. Don’t alternate words, such as “no”, “down”, “go away”. Always use the same word again and again. It will help them to quickly understand what you want.

5. Have crazy playtime fun.

Don’t overtrain your pet. Set aside some fun time each day where they can race wildly around the backyard or the park, or the living room if it’s a cat. Let your pet show their wild side for a while and help them to get rid of all that excess energy they have. It’s better than having it build up and then finding they got up to mischief while you were at work.

It’s far better to think in advance on how to keep your home safe for you and your pets than it is to scold and reprimand them because you left out an enticing meat dish all afternoon long. Your pets will appreciate a positive approach to training and behavior.

Featured image from Pexels