How to Educate Dogs and Cats with Positive Reinforcement

The best way to educate your pet is by rewarding him when he does something right. If you want to teach him something, use positive reinforcement.

First, you have to remember that scolding and punishing your pet isn't useful in the education process. Learning must be a positive and fun interaction based on trust. The reward method will help you reinforce good behavior and encourage him to repeat it over time. Positive reinforcement is the secret ingredient of training and will allow you to get the quickest results with every comman or action you want to teach!

 Positive reinforcement: what does it mean and how to use it

In psychology, positive reinforcement is the key for behavioral analysis. The first psychologist who introduced it was B.F. Skinner; then, it was studied by Karen Pryor in animals’ education.

Positive reinforcement encourages a long-term action or behavior. For this reason, perseverance and patience are important elements of this process.

This associative learning technique develops a specific conduct depending on its consequences.

Three important features

There are 3 main features that influence your teaching process:

  1. Speed: you have to reward your pet immediately after his good behavior. It’s useless using to reward them before or long after.
  2. Intensity: the reward must be appropriate to the equivalent result.
  3. Regularity: it’s important that positive reinforcement is used regularly over a long-term period. 

Does positive reinforcement work for dogs and cats?  

The answer is YES. Positive reinforcement is efficient with both of them. Pets’ mental stimulation helps them accept orders, preventing misbehavior.

You have the possibility to correct misbehaviors, working hard on the good ones. In this way, your dog or cat feels happy and respected.

Here are suggestions:

  • Don’t use a simple treat to reward your pet: it’s better to give a fanciful food, something unusual to his diet.
  • Be patient and perseverant! Monitor his behavior constantly: you have to reward him if you notice a real improvement.
  • When your pet learnt a specific order, you can choose to continue the training with the variable reinforcement: reward him every once in a while!

Importantly: your pet’s behavior can improve as early as when he's a puppy!


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