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Positive Reinforcement for Puppy Potty Training

Positive reinforcement is where you award the dog for good behaviour. The awards range from verbal praise to treats. Positive reinforcement is part of operant conditioning.

Training that uses positive reinforcement is more likely to be effective and achieve desired results faster since the dog is motivated to behave accordingly.

In puppy potty training, positive reinforcement is usually in the form of verbal praise when the puppy eliminates in the correct area.

For this form of reinforcement to be effective, you should be there when the puppy eliminates and verbally praise the puppy when he is done. This is important so that the puppy associates the verbal praise with that act of eliminating in the right area.

When puppies are young, they will appreciate a form of training that gives them reason to repeat good behaviour. Once the puppy learns to associate the act of eliminating in a designated place with rewards,  they will be more willing to do this again in order to get a reward. In time, as the puppy adjusts you can reduce the treats or rewards and later complete eliminate them.

In positive reinforcement for puppy training, timing is essential. Proper timing allows the puppy to be able to make association between the reward and the action. Without good timing the puppy assumes that the reward is like any other and will not be motivated to behave in the desired way.

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However, positive reinforcement can act both ways since it is based on the principle that a behaviour that is rewarded will be repeated. If you reward negative behaviour such as soiling on the carpet or spraying on furniture, your puppy will in future repeat this behaviour, and who can blame them? No one pointed out that it was wrong!

Positive reinforcement does not in any circumstances encourage punishing unwanted behaviour. You can help the puppy by moving him to the right place if you find him eliminating in any other place other than the designated area. If you do not catch the puppy in the act, it is best to clean the mess with products that will rid the place of any smell that might attract the puppy to the same place.

If you choose to potty train your puppy using positive reinforcement, it is best that you pay attention to the puppy especially if he shows signs that he wants to potty. This will give you the chance to show the puppy the potty area and afterward reward him.

Be consistent when potty training the puppy, in the beginning always reward the puppy for correct behaviour. Use something that the puppy loves in order to motivate him. For some puppies, food is always a good motivator; you can also use treats or toys to reward the puppy. Verbal praise works well with any of these rewards and you can use in addition to the methods mentioned above.

Positive reinforcement is only effective if used correctly, thus if you intend to use it to potty train your puppy then ensure that you have understood it well.

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