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Last month you asked PetFirst to share some advice for how to train your pets and possibly even re-trainyour pets. We sat down with a few PetFirst employees and picked their brains. They had a lot of great information to share!
There are several types of behavior training you can use with your pets. Operant Conditioning uses manipulation to increase or decrease a behavior. The 2 main categories are reinforcement and punishment. Reinforcement increases a behavior while punishment, in this case, means decreasing a behavior. Reinforcement and punishment can be broken down into 2 further categories: positive and negative. Any time you add something to your training session, it would be considered positive (i.e. positive reinforcement and positive punishment). Any time you remove something from your training session, it would be considered negative (i.e. negative reinforcement and negative punishment).
Here is an example of each:
Keep in mind training and even retraining your pet takes time and that’s okay! You get extra quality time with your pets! ~ Becky, Claims Coordinator at PetFirst Pet Insurance
Whatever type of behavior training you decide to do, timing and consistency are key. You need to reinforce or react to your dog’s behavior immediately. The treat (if you choose positive reinforcement) itself should not be a crunchy or large treat. By the time your pet is done chewing, they will have forgotten why they got the treat! Reinforce good behavior quickly and frequently so that your pet understands he/she should continue the behavior regardless if they received a treat or not.
If you need a good reference to help get you started, Perfect Puppy in 7 Days by Dr. Sophia Yin is an excellent resource! ~ Amanda, Claims Coordinator at PetFirst Pet Insurance
Remember: an exercised pet is a well behaved pet! Find your dog’s favorite activity and do it frequently! The more exercise your pet gets, the happier they will be and the better they will behave.
When you’re shopping for treats, keep in mind how often your pet is going to get the treat. If you’re in the middle of training, opt for small or breakable, non-crunchy treats. Make sure the treat is low fat and high in protein! Stay away from smelly, super meaty treats. If you can’t resist buying something fancy, make sure to check that the first ingredient is indeed meat. The more natural the better the treat! ~ Claims Coordinators at PetFirst Pet Insurance