4 Basic Dog Training Tips: Positive Reinforcement, CBD Oil & Treats

It seems every dog trainer these days uses positive reinforcement to educate their four-legged friend. Unlike other methods of training, you don’t need to punish your dog when they do something wrong, which is one of the many reasons why people have been so keen to use positive reinforcement. 

In the past, trainers would use force, often kicking or hitting their dog when they did something they were not supposed to. Often this would lead to the dog becoming anxious and nervous. Sometimes these dogs would act aggressively towards other dogs and humans. Although this method of training isn’t as popular as it once was, it hasn’t entirely disappeared. Celebrity dog trainer, Cesar Milian, still practices these methods. The much-loved television star has found himself in court on several occasions, due to dog owners that appeared on his show suffering dog bites from their own pets after he had trained them. Milian himself has been bitten on the show on numerous occasions, which has forced many of his fans to lose faith in his methods. 

Positive reinforcement is a simple way of training. All you have to do is reward your pet when he or she does something good, and ignore your pet when they do something wrong. Although it is straightforward, it might take a small bit longer for your dog to master the trick in comparison to punishing your dog. Keep in mind that this method will not only help train your dog but will help create an incredible bond between both of you

1. What Currency Should I Use: Treats, Praise, or Play?

When training your dog with positive reinforcement, the idea is to reward your dog with something after they have done something right. Try to remember, every dog is different. If your dog loves treats, then you should give them a little doggy snack to motivate your pet. Here are a few examples of effective dog treats you should consider using: 

  • Boiled chicken pieces: Most dogs can’t get enough of chicken, so chop a chicken breast into tiny pieces. 
  • CBD dog treats: Dog pet stores and even some legal cannabis dispensaries like Canna Cabana sell CBD products. CBD can help improve your dog’s health in many ways, so many folks like to use it as a snack to train their pets. Although CBD products are not legal in every country, you can purchase CBD treats and CBD oil in Canada, America, and most of Europe. 
  • Dog kibble: You don’t want to be giving your dog high-quality treats like chicken and CBD snacks all the time. If you do, your dog will only do what they are told when you have them on hand. Make sure to wean your dog off these foods, and the best way of doing so is by changing the currency to kibble. After a while, wean them off food entirely when they have mastered a command and replace the treat with praise alone. 

Some dog owners might find this surprising, but not all dogs are motivated by food. Don’t worry, you just have to find another form of currency. See if your dog likes toys. Pull toys are often a very popular currency, especially with dogs who love playing. 

Whichever currency you use with your dog, make sure to fill them full of praise when they have done what you have asked of them, especially when it’s their first time doing something properly. 

2. What is a “Bingo” Treat and when should I use it? 

Training a dog takes time, and when you want your dog to do something you are commanding them to do, you might have to do it in baby steps. If you are using treats to reward your pet, avoid giving them lots of treats at once when they have repeated the same command. However, if it is the first time they have mastered a new command, reward them generously. Many dog trainers call this a “Bingo” treat. This will let the dog know that they have just done something amazing. Not only will they realize that they have done something that you want them to do, but they will also understand that you are really happy with them too. 

Only use “bingo” treats when progress has been made. If you give your dog lots of treats every time they do something right, they might lose interest in the treats or gain a lot of weight. Treats should be really small even if your dog has a big appetite. Making sure your dog maintains a healthy diet is vital, so avoid overdoing it with treats and don’t use big chunks of food. 

3. What does a Clicker do?

Have you ever seen a dog trainer with a clicker? These small plastic devices make a clicking sound once you’ve pressed the button. Although they might seem like a strange thing to have, they can be highly effective when training a dog. 

One of the most important things about training a dog using positive reinforcement is praise. After your dog has done something you have asked them to do, praising them by saying “Good boy” or “Yes” will help them understand. However, the tone in which we say these words can differ each time we say them. Being consistent is important when it comes to dog training, and it is almost impossible to say the words with the exact same tone each time you praise your dog. This is why many dog trainers use a clicker. Instead of giving your dog praise, you replace it with a clicker. Once your dog has done something correctly, then you press the clicker, reward them with whichever currency motivates them and give them praise. The clicker makes the exact same noise every time you press it, which helps the dog stay focused. 

4. Use Eye Contact to Help your Dog Focus

Eye contact should not be underestimated when training your pet. In fact, most dog trainers teach eye contact before they train their dogs anything else. When your dog makes eye contact with you, it means they are completely focused. 

To help your dog make eye contact use follow these steps:

  1. Have your treats ready in one hand and the clicker in the other hand. If you don’t have a clicker, just use praise instead. 
  2. Put the treat up to your eye, say to your dog “look” and once they glance towards the treat, press the clicker and reward him or her. 
  3. Now, do the same thing but don’t have any treats in your hand. Just put your finger up to your eye, say to your dog “look”, press the clicker, and reward them. 
  4. Once your dog has mastered that, this time don’t put your finger up to your eye, just say “look” and once your dog looks into your eyes, press the clicker and reward.

Once you start this training routine, your dog might only glance into your eyes for a split second. Don’t worry, this is a good sign so make sure you reward them generously and give them plenty of praise.

Conclusion

Dog training is great fun for both you and your dog. Having a well-trained dog will help you to have more control over your pet, which will prove helpful when you are out on walks together or going to the park. Although it might not seem like it, your dog wants to make you happy. Avoid using any type of force whatsoever when training your dog. There are plenty of dog training videos and other content uploaded to streaming sites like YouTube worth checking out.