How To Make Your Dog An Offer He Can’t Refuse

Dog training is a lot like the movie The Godfather. In order to get great results, you need to make your dog an offer they can’t refuse. But, instead of using violence and anger, we want to find ways to positively motivate your dog.

A point that I always stress when I am teaching someone how to train his or her dog is this: Training does not happen without motivation. You need to motivate your dog if you want her to perform.

I also stress the fact that there are two forms of motivation: Positive and Negative. Both forms of motivation can produce results.

For a long time dog trainers would not use food or other forms of positive motivation because they had the silly notion that a dog is supposed to work for its master, PERIOD.

So dog trainers of the past would put a choke chain on the dog and use negative motivation to get the dog to comply with the command. The pain motivated the dog. In order to escape the pain the dog would comply.

A very bad way to train

Whenever a trainer uses negative motivation he will get side effects. A killer whale trainer once said:

people in white and black whale tail in blue sea during daytime
Image: Dr Pok

If you put a shock collar on a killer whale you will have a very short training session because there is a good chance that the whale will eat you when you get in the pool.

He went on to say that aggression is caused by negative training methods. I completely agree with him. You can’t constantly expose your dog to negative training sessions and not expect it to produce negative side effects.

At this point many dog owners think that if you use food to train, the dog will only work for food.

black and white border collie on snow covered ground during daytime
Image: Tadeusz Lakota

Using food is only one part of the training process. Once your dog starts to learn a command, you can start to use life rewards.

A life reward is anything that the dog likes or wants. Does your dog like to go for car rides? Before you open the door and let your dog in, give your dog a command – sit, down, stay, etc.

Compliance is what we want from our dogs when we are doing obedience. You get compliance by motivating your dog.

Here is the secret of compliance:

1. Ask
2. Motivate
3. Reward

Through repetition your dog will start to learn the command.

In The Godfather, negative motivation was used to get compliance, something we don’t want to do when we are training our dogs. Instead, we want to use positive motivation. By using positive motivation, we don’t have to resort to aggressive training techniques that promote aggression in dogs.

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