What does positive training mean?

Positive reinforcement training uses praise and/or treats to reward your dog for doing something you want him/her to do. Because the reward makes your dog more likely to repeat the behavior, positive reinforcement is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing behavior. Additionally, this method can strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

TCOTC only uses positive training methods, which are proven to be more effective than negative reinforcement or punishment. These methods include:

Operant conditioning

Through operant conditioning, behaviors are learned by rewarding desired behaviors.
The basic premise of positive reinforcement is: dog performs behavior, dog gets rewarded. The dog learns ― at first ― “every time I do this, I get THIS.” After a desired behavior is consistently occurring, then the trainer will begin to decrease payment of the behavior, only focusing on the dog’s best performances. This encourages the dog to try his best each and every time, since he only gets paid for his best endeavors.


It can take time for your dog to learn certain behaviors ― using a technique called “shaping” can help speed along the process. Shaping techniques mean reinforcing something close to the desired response and then gradually requiring more from your dog before he/she gets the treat.
For example, if you’re teaching your dog to “shake hands,” you may initially reward him for lifting his paw off the ground, then for lifting it higher, then for touching your hand, then for letting you hold his paw, and finally, for actually “shaking hands” with you.

Clicker training

Helpful in both operant conditioning and shaping, “clicker training” is based on behavioral psychology that relies on marking desirable behavior and rewarding it.

Desirable behavior is usually marked by using a “clicker,” a mechanical device that makes a short, distinct “click” sound which tells the animal exactly when they’re doing the right thing. This clear form of communication, combined with positive reinforcement, is an effective, safe, and humane way to teach your dog any behavior.

Training gear

Positive training also requires the use of particular training gear.

  • Leashes should be approximately six feet long and non-retractable.
  • Approved varieties of collars include buckle, limited-slip (Martingale), or a head halter (such as a Gentle Leader).
  • Prong collars, choke chains, and e-collars (also known as shock collars) are not permitted.