One comment that I get all the time is:

You always talk about positive reinforcement, but how do you use positive reinforcement when your dog is barking?

My answer is always the same: "You don’t." You see, I teach dog owners to use positive reinforcement methods to train their dogs. I advise that you should be wary of trainers that focus on using harsh or negative methods. I have told people for years to throw away choke chains and stop doing alpha roll-overs.

BUT…

…it does not mean that I never use negative consequences to stop certain behaviors (the Good K9 Manners course is all about stopping behaviors). I’ll boil dog training down for you, in fact I’ll even go as far as saying that this is ALL dog training in nutshell: Follow up good behavior with a positive consequence, follow up bad behavior with a negative consequence.

Or to put it another way – Reward your dog for behaviors that you want your dog to do (sit, down, come, stay, etc.). Apply a negative consequence to behaviors that you want to stop (jumping, barking, begging, etc.). Applying a negative consequence does not mean that you should hurt or harm your dog. You have to get creative with your consequences.

For example, I often use breath spray to stop barking (Binaca works best, but it’s hard to find). When the dog barks, I simply pair the word quiet with the spray. Dog barks, I say, "Quiet," and then give the dog a quick squirt of the spray. The taste, sound and smell is not pleasant for the dog but he is now starting to pair the word "Quiet" with the negative consequence.

After a few times, the dog quickly makes the connection and I don’t have to spray. That’s one example of using a creative negative consequence to stop an annoying behavior without physically harming the dog. If you’re dealing with annoying dog behavior problems that you’d like to stop, check out Good K9 Manners.

All the best,

Eric