I often hear “my dog is stubborn” keep in mind that dogs have both positive and negative reinforcers not only from the environment but sometimes from you!  Reinforcers are consequences that increase the likely hood the behavior will occur again.  I focus on Positive Reinforcers which is adding something that the dog likes, such as yummy food, affection or play after the behavior.

Negative reinforces are consequences which increase behavior but by removing something unpleasant, like you stop applying pressure to the dogs neck when he lies down.  This dog is learning that training is not fun, just look at his confused face.

Your voice and body language may be saying something different.  If you are yelling “come” in a stern tone while you smile, what is your dog to think?  Sending mixed signals will confuse your dog and most likely encourage him to hesitate or simply avoid you.

Yum Yum Trick

We act on our choices every day which lead to consequences that would not have happened if we hadn’t done something.  If you do not work, you do not get paid, if you do not put gas in the car, it will not move. If you ask your dog to sit and he does not, he doesn’t get the treat.  If a wild fox does not hunt, he does not eat.  Animals learn each and every day that things happen because they do things.

When we teach our dogs that they will be rewarded with food, affection, freedom and play for good choices each and every day, they learn to comply happily.  Pablo has learned that when I say “Yum yum” and he licks his lips, he gets rewarded!  This type of reinforcement is not only good for your dog, but your family and friends as well!