Reward-Based Dog Training Isn’t Just for Sunny Days

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Back when I had two dogs, Ghost and Bodger, I had a lot of questions about the information I saw about dogs and especially on how to train them. It just didn’t fit with the kind of pet owner I wanted to be, or with what I knew from my background in Psychology. Learning more about dogs and cats, and sharing that information with people, was my main motivation for starting Companion Animal Psychology. And here we are, seven-and-a-half-years later, and on my 500th post.

Some common themes in my inbox over the years tell us about changes in how we think about pets, and in dog training in particular.

Questions about dog training methods

The most common questions I get are about dog training methods. One set of questions is from people wanting links to share with others they hope to persuade to stop using electronic collars, leash jerks, or other aversive methods. I typically share seven reasons to use reward-based training, the results of a study on reasons to ban shock collars, or something about positive reinforcement. For those who are keen to dig into the science, there is my list of dog training science resources which I update regularly (and which you can always find via the tabs at the top of the page).

One of the nice things about this first set of questions is that over the years, they have changed from being questions about how to convince friends or family to also include questions about bringing about wider change, such as by changing bylaws or local or state government regulations. If you want inspiration on this, check out the BC SPCA’s AnimalKind program, and my own post on promoting reward-based training methods.

Read the full post here: