Treatment Type: Training Techniques
Rated for: Chinese Shar-Pei Mix
San Diego, California, United States
Posted Jun. 9, 2018
I adopted a very sensitive rescue dog. Anything that looks remotely like punishment destroys her confidence and causes her to shut down. Even a dissatisfied tone of voice is enough to send her cowering. I have always used positive reinforcement training, but for my sensitive dog, it was an absolute must.
The most important tenet of positive reinforcement is to catch your dog doing the right thing. If you're aiming for a specific behavior, break that down into the smallest possible steps and reward each step toward the final result. I used this to teach my dog to sit, jump into and out of the car, stop begging, make eye contact, shake paw, and come when called.
Many dogs are eager to please, but it helps to know what motivates them. My dog loves praise and food the most, so these are the primary rewards. When we are working on something really tough for her, I give her higher value treats (such as cooked chicken) to increase the incentive. Other dogs are motivated by play, so giving them access to their favorite toy after a good lesson may also work. This training method requires patience, a calm and assertive attitude, and repetition, but it will get results if you stick with it.