Be a Leader, Not a Pushover

Follow the Leader by Sarah Fulcher of Barks and Recreation

Honestly, when I used to use traditional and dominance based methods, I never would have thought that I could earn a dogs respect and be a leader by giving treats. In fact, many traditional trainers see positive reinforcement trainers as “cookie pushers” and there may be a few out there that don’t quite understand the proper techniques that are involved in positive reinforcement methods. A good positive reinforcement trainer rarely, if ever, hands out treats for no reason. Each treat is carefully planned out and should always have a reason. There is always a strategy behind the treat!

Some techniques may look like treats are being given for no reason if you don’t have the knowledge of “why” behind your observations. One of these techniques is high frequency reinforcement. You can use high frequency reinforcement for many situations – from teaching a new trick to changing a dog’s emotions about a stimuli. For example, if you have a dog that sits when asked but immediately stand up after, high frequency reinforcement can teach the dog to stay sitting to receive more rewards. Over time you slowly reduce the frequency of treats and you have a dog that sits until you say it’s okay to move! But you can see how to an uneducated eye this would look like you are just giving tons of treats for no reason!

Something that I have learned and realized in the last few weeks is that my dog respects me and listens to me better than he did before. Also, he does things for me because he wants to please me which shows me he respects me as a leader. I have learned that being a great leader takes understanding and patience rather than intimidation or pain – with both people and animals!

Here is a link to another blog that I like to follow. Sarah discusses how leadership is developed through positive reinforcement techniques. Stay tuned to find out all 10 principles to using positive reinforcement to develop leadership.

Follow the Leader by Sarah Fulcher of Barks and Recreation

Follow the Leader – Part One

Follow the Leader – Part Two 

Follow the Leader – Part Three

Follow the Leader – Part Four