What is Reward-Based Dog Training?

My dog training career has lasted many years and is continuing to grow more and more. I’ve learned a lot about many different approaches to dog training, but it was not until I graduated and became certified as a professional dog trainer with Canine Trade Group, how I really wanted to help dogs and their families overcome their canine behavioral problems.

We train dogs and their people!

For those who are thinking about hiring a dog trainer, there are many questions and factors to consider when deciding on the right person for you and your fur baby. Dog owners must be honest with themselves about the problems they are facing with their dog. Once they realize that something must be done, it then time to find the person who will resolve the poor behaviors the dog is exhibiting. You can ask about certification, years of experience, and the like, but when it comes right down to it, you need to know if you can find someone you can trust to do the job in a humane, effective manner. And with all the many dog trainers and training philosophies available, sometimes it is difficult for owners to narrow down their search.

My training here at Music City Dog Training is all based on my years of critical studies on canine behavior, operant conditioning, and so forth. I keep myself and my methods modern, so that I do not employ useless, outdated techniques on any of my clients. When people inquire what type of training or philosophy I follow, I tell them that I am both a reward-based and a commitment-based trainer.

Now, these may sound like very vague terms, so let me explain:

When I say reward-based, I am not implying that I am simply food-based or “purely positive reinforcement” (though I am a big fan and proponent of positive reinforcement methods with my training). As far as food or treats are concerned, I am not against using it at all, but I try not to solely rely on these as training tools. What I am saying when it comes to being reward-based is that I want to set the dog up for success as much as I can, and show them that better behaviors will lead to more rewarding experience for the dog and their families. When I set the dog up for success, I am taking away any opportunities for the dog to fail and experience negativity. Instead of trying to influence the dog to make the right decision, I want to show them that he/she actually has a choice in this matter, and that the right choice is the most fun and rewarding one! Instead of using bribery or dominance/fear, I direct the dog down a path where they will make the right decision because they choose to and want to.

Commitment-based is pretty self-explanatory: I am 100% committed to my committed clients, and will stick with them until the job is done. Instead of just appointing a set, non-negotiable amount of lessons or hours, I structure a lesson plan based on the dog’s behavior, needs, and training goals, and then stick to their case until those training goals are met. I don’t add extra charges or require any specific conditions, other than just consistency, communication, and commitment from the owners. No dog will have to walk away from my training program unchanged, because we won’t allow it!

At Music City Dog Training, every dog has a chance of succeeding and finding out that training can be a fun, rewarding experience. If you have a dog that needs some behavioral change, call me at 800-649-7297!