Sunday, June 14, 2015

How To Talk Your Dog Into Behaving Well

According to Experts, Reinforcing Positive Behavior with Treats Communicates Valuable Information to Misbehaving Canines

OGDEN, Utah (June 5, 2015) – To punish or not to punish a misbehaving dog is a question trainers disagree about how to answer. Most experts, however, advocate positive reinforcement as a more effective and humane training method.

Pet owners can learn more from a new website sponsored by Vita Bone® dog treats: Here, experts like Steve Dale, nationally acclaimed pet expert and certified animal behavior consultant, provide training and treating tips to help people deal with some of the most common types of canine misbehaviors.

“The problem with punishment is that it doesn’t give a dog any information about what it should be doing,” says Dale. “While it does interrupt bad behavior, punishment doesn’t teach the dog a more acceptable alternative. Positive reinforcement works by rewarding dogs when they perform a desired behavior.”

Dog owners often complain that their pets jump up on guests entering their homes. Punishing the dog – for example, by shoving a knee into its chest – will undoubtedly stop the unwelcome behavior, at least temporarily. But it also can communicate to dogs that people are untrustworthy, crazy or unkind. Frequently punished dogs grow wary of all people and sometimes even begin to act aggressively toward them.

These undesired outcomes are only natural, as dogs in such situations are reacting to pain and anxiety caused by confusing human actions.

If dog owners want their pets to sit quietly by the door or fetch a favorite toy when visitors arrive – instead of jumping on their guests – they should convey this information through positive reinforcement. Showing dogs what to do and rewarding their success provides motivation for them to repeat desired behavior and enhances relationships with their humans.

The reward should take the form of whatever it is that a dog most enjoys – generally a special treat. It should be easy to eat, so that the dog doesn’t become distracted by the process of chewing and remains focused on the desired behavior it’s exhibiting. Pet owners should have treats readily available so that they can administer one every time a dog in training does what it’s supposed to do.

Dale recommends Vita Bone® Chewy Sticks because they are easy to break apart for training sessions. In addition to being easy to eat, independent studies show that dogs prefer Vita Bone® treats two to one over leading national brands. So their size, texture and taste make them ideal dog training tools.

While a more punitive style of training can be effective in certain situations – for example if a dog is about to run out in front of an oncoming vehicle, and its owners needs it to stop immediately – it cannot train dogs to behave the way we want. What’s worse is that it can erode the human-animal bond, as frequently punished dogs naturally begin to dislike and mistrust people.

“As a training tool, positive reinforcement isn’t only a more effective way to teach, it’s also more ethical than punishment – which is perhaps the most important point,” says Dale. “Today, more than 90 percent of pet owners in North America consider their dogs cherished family members. For all the love our dogs unconditionally offer every day, I purport that we should treat them the same way.”

For more information and dog training tips, visit 

About Vita Bone®

Vita Bone® Biscuits ( are baked using natural ingredients to enhance flavor and digestibility. Fortified with 23 essential vitamins and minerals, Vita Bone® Biscuits also include omega-3 and -6 fatty acids as well as glucosamine from natural sources like salmon oil and chicken. These essential elements help promote healthy skin, well-conditioned coats and good joint health in dogs. Vita Bone® Chewy Sticks are easy to break apart for training sessions or a great snack between meals. Vita Bone® Biscuits and Chewy treats are part of the American Pet Nutrition family of trusted brands that meet the strictest standards of safety and quality for production and packaging. The company is based in Ogden, Utah, and has been family-owned since 1972.

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