Positive conditioning must be employed to reward any action the dog has done that needs to be reinforced. It is always convenient to apply this positive conditioning immediately after the action. This conditioning must be different for each of the members of the family group, not to limit the positive reaction from the dog to only one member. Also, one will have in mind that such conditioning must be gratifying for the dog, not the person. This is a frequent mistake. What can we use as a positive conditioning? We will have to find something that is highly gratifying for the dog that is always at hand.
There are those that choose to reward the dog with a cookie, slice of cheese, or any other thing after a specific action. This is okay only in some cases, but the ideal thing to do is caress the dog, say something in a soothing tone of voice or only even encourage the dog to play. These options would be considered as ideal positive conditioning because petting the dog and saying nice things to him will make the dog want to repeat the action once and again.
If there is something the owners must feel guilty about is not participating in a more active way in playing with the dog. Mending this attitude by not only rewarding the dog, but playing with him even if it is for a short period of time will assure you that the dog will be willing to respond immediately to any command you give him.
Dogs must not only obey its master because of gluttony or fear, but because of affection, respect and positive conditioning. The animal must relate –at a first stage and without the dog getting used to it- acting properly to any given command with a rewarding outcome. A balanced combination of positive conditioning to encourage the animal and negative conditioning to hold him back will allow you to expect a desired response from the animal at any time, place or circumstance.
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