The Australian Veterinary Association has developed a set of practical recommendations in a guide for dog trainers based on training methods based on positive reinforcement.
Reward-based training: a guide for dog trainers outlines the benefits of reward-based training and identifies some of the problems associated with alternative training methods. It also includes a number of case studies, examples of training and comprehensive list of references for further reading on the subject.
‘Positive reinforcement’ is a training method based on the simple approach of giving the dog something it wants to make behaviour more likely to occur again.
The AVA believes use of positive reinforcement is the most humane and effective training method as it avoids undesirable behavioural side effects. Positive reinforcement also makes training more enjoyable and helps to improve the bond between the trainer and the pet.
An example of reward-based training
For example, Sassy jumps up to greet people: her owners have tried pushing her down and kneeing her to knock her off balance when she jumps. This has not worked, in fact she now jumps from further away to avoid the knee. Sassy should be ignored if she jumps and only receive attention (including eye contact) when she has four paws on the ground. Only when she is standing or sitting should she be rewarded with attention and treats.