Most pets need to complete some basic training in order to fit into your life. Dogs are the most common pet to train, and they’re usually very excited and willing to learn. Cats, rabbits and other small animals can also obey basic commands to make your lives together more fulfilling. Positive reinforcement training is recommended by RSPCA Victoria – here’s how it works.
Training Your Pet
Positive reinforcement training (PRT)
PRT is all about rewarding the behaviour you want to see in your pet. Rewards can be attention, food or toys, so long as it’s something your pet is motivated by. When your pet performs a behaviour you want, give a reward. Over time the behaviour becomes second nature and you no longer need to keep reinforcing with treats.
Top tips for successful PRT
Positive reinforcement training sounds simple enough in theory, but in practice progress can be slow as it’s easy to send mixed signals to your pet. In order to keep your PRT on the path to success, follow these easy tips.
Timed to pawfection
Timing is everything when it comes to successful PRT. You must reward your pet within seconds of them performing your command as desired or they might think the treat was given for something else.
Keep it short
Teaching basic commands seems very simple to us, but it can be tiring for your pet. Keep training sessions short, frequent and fun so they don’t lose interest.
Probably the most important thing about PRT is consistency. Always use the same command, in the same tone of voice and using the same hand gestures, to give your pet the best chance of learning quickly.
Use simple commands
It may seem like your pet understands everything you say, but they really only take cues from key words, your voice and body language. Sticking to a simple word and gesture will help them on the path to PRT purrfection.
Training should be a fun bonding experience for you and your pet. Spending time training together builds a strong relationship based on trust and respect, and helps your pet fit seamlessly into your life.
Be patient with your pet if they’re struggling at first as they’re not trying to frustrate you. Always take a break and come back to training if it isn’t working so you can approach every training session with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn from each other.