Hannah Philipson RVN SQP, Ryedale Vets
Positive reinforcement is all about teaching your dog that good things happen when they make a good choice or practise a desired behaviour.
Your dog will then start to associate this behaviour with something tasty or fun and becomes much more likely to perform the desired behaviour again and again.
Positive reinforcement is a great way of creating a bond between yourself and the animal and can help build up your dog’s confidence, helping them to think for themselves. It is also a great way to mentally stimulate your dog if you struggle to tire them out on walks alone.
The primary socialisation period is from 3 to 16 weeks. This is a special time of accelerated learning and brain development during which dogs learn to interact with other beings and to habituate to the environment that surrounds them.
Habituation to their living environment occurs constantly throughout this time so it is very important that puppies are handled gently and carefully but also positively. They need to be exposed pro-actively to social and environmental situations during this time alongside being protected from over-exposure or stressful stimuli which may cause a negative impact to the puppy’s development.
Ryedale Vets are now offering Confidence Clinics to help habituate and desensitise dogs to the veterinary environment using positive reinforcement. Habituation is a type of learning which teaches the individual to become acclimatised to a stimulus.
The process of habituation involves gradually exposing your pet to the veterinary environment whilst rewarding all positive behaviour. This means that over time your pet should become acclimatised to the environment, understanding that every time they come in it is always a positive experience.
Drop in or give us a call to discuss your dog’s needs and see how we can help.