Positive reinforcement training, also called reward-based training, is gaining more and more attention as an effective and humane way to teach dogs and to modify problem behaviours. It uses praise, affection, a favourite toy, treats and/or play, (something your dog really wants or values), to reward your dog for doing something you want him/her to do.
Positive reinforcement is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your dog’s behaviour because getting a reward makes your dog more likely to repeat the behaviour. Positive reinforcement lets the dog know ‘this action you are doing right now is what I want’.
Therefore the timing of giving the reward is crucial. It has to be given the very second your dog is doing the behaviour you want. For example, when teaching your dog to sit the reward must be given the absolute moment your dog’s bottom touches the ground.
Reward-based training also positively enhances the bond you have with your dog. It doesn’t use punishment but rather focuses on only rewarding desired behaviour and giving no attention whatsoever for unwanted behaviour. Put simply whatever behaviour, good or bad, is rewarded increases.