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Using positive reward training with anxious, nervous or reactive dogs

Using positive reward training with anxious, nervous or reactive dogs

The strongest relationships between dogs and humans are based on cooperation and kindness rather than on human dominance. If you choose to use positive techniques when building a relationship with your anxious dog, you will be on your way to establishing and maintaining a connection that increases trust and results in a stronger, healthier bond between you. If your dog feels good about you, they will be happier, confident, and more inclined to respond to you when you ask them to do something. If you give your dog a reward when they respond to you or offer a behaviour that you like, then that behaviour is likely to be repeated. Your dog learns that good things happen to him when they do the thing you like. Dogs can form new bonds with humans at any stage of their life. Having a fun healthy reliable treat can remove a lot of stress and make training and walks more enjoyable.  Training your anxious dog can help strengthen that bond and may make life a lot easier. 

For our anxious dogs, use counterconditioning and desensitization to decrease your dog’s reaction to the stimulus. Positive reinforcement techniques will help associate the scary item with a treat or a favourite toy.

You can use training techniques to slowly desensitize your dog to anxiety triggers. Use rewards such as dog treats or food to help your pup associate the triggers with positive experiences.

Recently I have been using this fab new product called “Bonus”

Bonus is a no fuss way to reward your dog. Simply fill the silicone body with whatever soft high value treat your dog loves and start training.  Bonus is to be filled with high value treats ensuring you get the best possible response from your dog. Surprise your dog, changing the soft treat every outing. 

So what high value treats could you use?

Wet dog food - Bonus silicone tube allows you to compress whatever food is inside to the desired texture- perfect for chunky dog food. Pureed fruit or vegetables, soft cheese, yoghurt or dog friendly peanut butter.

I love using the Bonus as it has a reel attached which you can attach to your belt or walking bag so is also a great visual stimulant.

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