5 Ways to Encourage Positive Behavior in Your Dog

What most people don’t understand is that dogs are very much like people in that they respond best and learn quicker when they’re rewarded. Multiple studies have amply demonstrated that a dog’s intelligence level is most like that of a child age 2 to 2.5 years of age.

It’s important that pet parents not inadvertently use positive reinforcement to encourage undesirable behavior such as barking or jumping up on people. It’s a mistake that many people make and then have to rectify. Keep any training session to about 15 minutes and be patient. Learning new things takes time.

Food Treats

The large majority of canines are highly food-motivated. Offering a treat for performing desired behaviors is extremely effective. Whatever the treat, it should be one that the dog finds irresistible. Keep the treat about the size of a pea – or smaller for little dogs – and combine it with a “good boy.”

Favorite Toy

There are some dogs that aren’t motivated by food. These canines often respond to being rewarded with access to a favorite toy for a few moments after performing the desired action or behavior.


Sometimes a canine responds best to praise in the form of a verbal “good girl.” Others respond to touch and being petted for a job well done. Don’t be reticent about combining words and touch to reward.


Getting sufficient exercise is important for a dog’s health and it’s also a way to reward positive behavior. After a training session, it can be beneficial to take the dog for a walk. They associate the training and walk with pleasure.

Play Time

Following a training session, it’s pleasurable for both people and canines to relax and engage in some play time. It’s a way of demonstrating to the dog that they’re loved and accepted no matter what.

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