When To Reward Your Dog (And When Not To)
Your dog is one of your closest friends, your pal, your amigo. So of course, you never want to come down on them too hard. But being the parent to a furry child sometimes involves doling out tough love. Having the ability to reward your dog when they do things well and not reward them for bad behaviors will make a world of difference in how your dog approaches its daily living.
The best times to reward your dog are when they follow orders regarding specific actions that are upsetting to you as an owner. For example, some of the most common misbehavior from your canine companion will include begging for table scraps, digging holes in the yard, chewing on cherished items, barking excessively at strangers and doorbells, and marking the inside of your home with their urine.
When the dog is about to participate in any of these behaviors and you need to get your point across, shouting at the dog or hitting them is not effective. The dog does not grasp this form of discipline and all it teaches them to is become despondent and start becoming more sneaky about the behavior.
That is why the dog should be rewarded for avoiding any of the behaviors that you have explicitly warned them about in the past. Positive reinforcement goes a long way towards showing your dog that listening to its owner is the right way to go. Giving your dog too many rewards, on the other hand, teaches them that their owner is a pushover and to continue behaving any way they choose.
On the flip side of the coin, a dog should never be rewarded in instances where their behaviors do not meet the established criteria that the owner has set. Consistency is key when raising a dog and when an owner goes back and forth and is hypocritical about their training methods, the dog does not end up learning anything at all.
A dog should not be rewarded when they are being overly aggressive. Some owners become nervous, because a dog will behave in an overly rambunctious manner when a reward is involved. However, rewarding this behavior only serves to encourage it. Other dogs will behave in a kind manner until they receive their treat, then snap at their owner. Neither of these behaviors are to be tolerated or rewarded.
While the method of providing rewards or revoking them should be modified depending on the particular situation, it is best to reward your dog for following the rules you’ve set and to withhold rewards when they do not. Dogs obviously have a difficult time understanding the English language, so once you have taught them a few key commands and the rules of the home, rewards should become something that is used to uphold these rules, in a manner that is consistent.