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Reward-based training

It’s really important to engage your pet in training. Stimulating training will keep your pet happy and healthy and will help build the bond you have with your pet.

Training is particularly important for dogs. When looking at training options, we recommend that you look into reward-based training methods where your dog is set up to succeed and then rewarded for performing the ‘good’ behaviour (known as positive reinforcement).

Reward-based training is enjoyable for your dog and enhances the bond between you and your dog. Rewards may be in the form of a food treat or verbal praise such as ‘good dog’ in a pleasant tone of voice, given immediately after your dog performs the ‘good’ behaviour.

Reward-based training also involves generally ignoring any ‘unwanted’ behaviour. If your dog isn’t rewarded with attention or a treat, then it’s likely to stop performing that behaviour.

Reward-based positive reinforcement training is the most effective and humane way of training your dog and addressing any unwanted behaviours.

Punishing your dog for 'unwanted' behaviour is likely to increase anxiety, it may exacerbate your pet’s behavioural problem and will not help you develop a healthy bond. Your dog also won’t have the opportunity to learn what is ‘right’.

Punishment and negative reinforcement training methods have been linked with undesirable side effects for dogs such as aggression in self-defence, escape and avoidance behaviour, learned helplessness (depression) and fear of people or the environment where the punishment occurs.

Socialisation, and reward-based training can often help you avoid behaviour-related problems in the future. Sadly, this is one of the most common reasons pet owners provide us when surrendering their animals.

Read more about dominance based training from the RSPCA or Australian Veterinary Association.


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