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How To Reward Our Dog In The Right Way

Discover how reward-based dog training fosters a healthy human-canine bond. Learn techniques to positively reinforce desired behaviours in your dog.

To reward your dog in the right way, you need to consider what is motivating to them.

Dog training. Puppy and adult dog education is based on praise and encouragement, limiting reprimands. Reward-based education follows a preferential track and enables faster and easier learning.

The domestication of the dog

The dog is the first animal species to be domesticated by humans. Genetic data from DNA studies have shown that dogs derive from the wolf, Canis lupus lupus. Domestication occurred in different geographical areas, and fossil findings have established that the process happened between 33,000 and 12,000 years ago.

Humans and wolves shared the same hunting territory as enemies and competitors for millennia. The carcasses left behind by our ancestors probably prompted wild wolves to approach the hunters’ temporary settlements and follow them on their journeys. The dog’s contribution was fundamental as it made hunting more profitable and possible to tame livestock such as sheep or cattle by guarding and guiding them.

When other domestic animals were not present, the dog took their place: as a pack animal, it facilitated the movement of nomadic hunter groups, and as a guard animal, it guarded camps and improved defence capabilities. The domestication of the dog is presumably the foundation on which the subsequent development of all forms of human civilisation rests.

Emotions and relationship: the human family

In the last pregnancy period, the pups feel the mother’s emotions. For example, caresses on the pregnant female’s abdomen or stress-related contractions of the intestines induce a perception of pleasure or discomfort in the young.

During childbirth, the attachment bond between the mother and her young is born: this bond enables newborns’ physical and psychic growth. The mother represents a secure base and a teacher of life: she calms, reassures and shows ‘how it’s done‘. With the increase, the attachment bond with the biological mother “extends” to the members of the group with whom the baby lives and the members of the human family. The bond between dog and referent is to be considered on a par with a child’s attachment to its mother.

The closer the reward is to the desired behaviour, the more likely your dog is to associate the two.
Some dogs are highly food-motivated, while others prefer praise, petting, or playtime.

The human being is the reference caregiver for this animal, and a genuine emotional relationship arises between the two species. Educare derives from the Latin ex – ducere, i.e. draw out, bring forth, grow or nurture. The educational process develops and refines aptitudes and sensitivity, taking into account the character and personality of the individual subject. It is a process that aims to bring out something hidden in the individual.

Educating does not mean inhibiting and eliminating what we do not like about the dog’s behaviour but instead accompanying the puppy through all phases of life, from birth to senility.

Rewarding the dog

Gratifying the puppy and adult dog with a caress, using a gentle tone of voice or giving a tasty treat promotes learning and establishing a balanced relationship within the family group.

Food rewards should be chosen according to the puppy’s and adult dog’s diet plan established by the attending veterinary surgeon. It is, therefore, advisable to read the product label carefully before buying.

Counterproductive punishments

Punishments, such as raising one’s voice, slapping one’s face, locking the animal in a room and isolating it from the family, foster the emergence of a conflictual relationship.

These behaviours generate negative emotions linked to fear that not only hinder learning but can also favour the appearance of aggressive behaviour as the dog’s only means of communication.

The dog positions itself in the human nucleus as a child and, as such, follows the example set by the human family, learning to use ‘strength‘ to solve difficulties.

It is also important to avoid rewarding your dog for bad behaviour.
It is essential to be consistent with your training and only reward good behaviour.

According to a recent study, numerous techniques based on confrontation/fighting, such as hitting or kicking the dog to punish unwanted behaviour, shouting at the animal, physically forcing the dog to let go of an object from its mouth or pinning the animal to the ground, induced an aggressive response in at least a quarter of the dogs on which they were used.

It is not possible to identify a threshold below which punishment can be declared tolerable: violence is always and in any case unacceptable and infringes on the subject’s right to respect for its physical and psychological integrity.

Animals are not only sentient beings but also subjects in their own right and must be respected as such, avoiding physical and psychological violence.

The right way…

To educate the puppy or adult dog, it is possible to exclaim: “Come on… what are you doing?” when he pulls a stunt and immediately provides an alternative.

For example, when the puppy takes an object that belongs to us, such as a slipper, we should not chase it or raise our voices but offer the animal one of its favourite toys. When the exchange occurs, rewarding the puppy or adult dog is appropriate.

The puppy’s and adult dog’s education is based on praise and incitement while limiting reprimands: education based on reward follows a preferential track and allows faster and easier learning.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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