Positive Reinforcement on Dogs

Why Do We Use Positive Reinforcement on Dogs?

I can imagine you’re here because you want to learn about Positive Reinforcement on Dogs. We know that this training works well on humans. However, does it really work on dogs?

Both Negative and Positive Reinforcement on Dogs work

Dogs are like humans. If you punish them for doing something wrong, they will stop doing it. Negative reinforcement will work right away.

However, they will most likely grow fearful. They will do what you want them to do in the moment. But in the long run, they won’t enjoy doing it.

For example, lots of dog owners tend to punish their dogs by forcing them into their crates. The fear of being in the crate will grow and turn it into an unhappy place. When their owners ask them to go to sleep, they will refuse to go there. The crate becomes a place of punishment instead of a safe place for your dog to sleep.

Dogs are pack animals

Your dog looks up to you as their pack leader. Therefore, they will love you and follow you no matter what you do to them. (This maybe the biggest difference between dogs and humans).

Why do we use positive reinforcement on dogs

However, you’re 100% in control deciding what kind of pack leader you want to become. Would you want your dog to be scared of you, or enjoy spending time with you? I think we can all agree that the best leaders are ones that inspire us. We wouldn’t want to choose a leader who we’re scared of.

Why can’t we be the best one for our furry friends?

Positive Reinforcement on Dogs

I understand positive reinforcement is not easy. It takes time and patience. You will have to endure many failures before reaching success. However, it is well worth it.

Let’s look at this example:

Your dog is chewing/eating something that he’s not allowed to. You can:

  1. Force the object out of his mouth. Say “No,” and put him into the crate.
  2. Ask curiously “what do you have there?” and wait until he drops the object; Then capture the good behavior by giving him a treat right away.

Action number 1 will make him hate the crate. The crate becomes a punishment. Also, in his world, you’re stealing his food out of his mouth. He thinks you’re selfish and want to keep it all to yourself. This will cause him to be more reluctant to give you things.

Action number 2 will teach him a good behavior. When you ask him to drop things he’ll be more willing do it, since it means he will get a treat. He will learn to focus on you more than focusing on things that he finds around the home. Genuinely, he will become your best friend.

If you want to be a leader that your dog respects out of love not fear then positive reinforcement training is definitely for you. I’ll be posting some tips on how to use positive reinforcement effectively on your furry friend.

Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think.

Why Do We Use Positive Reinforcement on Dogs? was last modified: June 17th, 2017 by PetLover


  1. Interesting read. I used to have a pet dog before. I am currently considering getting another 1. What breed would you recommend?

  2. Great content! As a dog owner and lover of dogs in general I believe most owners don’t really understand that punishment doesn’t always have to be negative and your post has some very helpful content to those who may have that lovable but mischievous dog! 🙂

  3. Love this article and happy to see you getting this message out there. Positive reinforcement seems like the best way to have a happy relationship wth your dog over the long run. I am going to start being more conscious of the fact in the future. I have a dog who is a barker. Do you have a suggestion on how positive reinforcement could help with that?

  4. I totally believe positive reinforcement is the way to go, but definitely not easy. I have my dog pretty good in the training area, and definitely use positive reinforcement with treats, but I still have her running away if she sees a squirrel, or bird, and it’s very hard to get her to come back, treat or no treat. Do you have any ideas on that? Thanks!

  5. I totally agree that positive reinforcement will work better than negative ones. It’s interesting to note that dogs look up to their owner as a pack leader. If I have a dog, I would certainly try the tips that you recommended. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi Kien,
    Great post on Dog reinforcement.
    I have a dog at home.
    My mom always use negative reinforcement which is bad. I tried to convince her to use a more proper way in teaching the dog.
    If you were in my situation, how would you advice your mother to teach the dog when he did something wrong?


    1. Author

      I’d show her this post! 🙂
      Well your dog is going to love you no matter what. I think it really depends. You can talk to your mom about it and see if she would change. I believe that both you and your mom don’t want your dog to live in fear. It really makes lots of sense to teach your dog to behave positively.
      If your dog always looks sad and fearful, you can show your mom that and hopefully she will change.

  7. Positive reinforcement is the way to go with all creatures. Not only does it reinforce good behaviour, it makes for a happy and confident dog who knows his place.

    I got my dog when he was very young and started straight away with this kind of training – he’s now a beautifully behaved young dog AND the best bonus was that the cat learned some manners at the same time!

  8. Great post. I have two dogs and the pointers you mentioned about positive and negative reinforcement is very true. You don’t want your dog to be fearful of you, but to look up to you, as their pack leader. We use positive reinforcement as often as we can and it does seem to work. Dogs are smart and they do put the pieces together rather quickly. Excellent article.

  9. Do you think we should rename it Pawsitive Reinforcement just for fun? 🙂

    In all seriousness, I’ve written about the same thing on my site for cats. I had a dog growing up (and have one now too) and my parents always used a rolled up newspaper and lot of ‘no!’ type training. While it worked, I’ve personally seen way more success, and way faster, with positive reinforcement instead.

    Thanks for the great article!

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