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You may have heard the term 'positivity based training' used when discussing dog training before. 'Positivity-only' training takes the concept a step further. Here's why positivity-only training is the best way to train your dog.
What it is
Positive training techniques mean only rewarding good behaviour, not punishing negative behaviour. Many people think that simply rewarding their dogs, such as with treats, is the best type of positive training they can do. While this does work much of the time, this type of training can still backfire, especially if you're using rewards to 'trick' your dog into doing something unpleasant. For example, if your dog is afraid of riding in cars, or if he gets carsick, using treats to get him to comply will make him associate the treat with fear or sickness. This will confuse your pet and likely lead to additional behavioural problems.
Positive-only training encompasses training based on your dog's natural instincts and behaviours. Dogs have certain traits, certain needs, that need to be met in order for them to feel secure and happy. And happy, secure dogs are well-behaved dogs, so by meeting these needs (introducing positivity), you can help correct negative behaviours.
Not cruel, but kind
Many dog owners can't understand the need for crate training or teaching dogs to follow you on walks instead of leading you. They may not see why giving treats from the dinner table can be such a 'big deal.' When it comes to training your dog using positivity-only training, the methods may seem cruel to you, but they are actually addressing the dog's needs very specifically.
For example, crate training a puppy isn't a punishment. It's providing the structure and security a dog craves and needs in order to be confident and well-behaved. It may seem like cruelty to isolate a whining puppy at night, but it is also offering him a space of his own, a den to retreat to when he needs space. It is teaching him independence and confidence, both necessary for a well-behaved dog.