Can Positive Reinforcement Training Prevent a Dog Bite?
When it comes to dog behavior, it’s important to know that there is no 100% fool-proof training method to prevent a dog bite from occurring. For that reason, it’s important to obtain dog bite liability insurance. However, some pet experts believe that training a dog using positive reinforcement methods will ultimately improve their behavior, making them less likely to behave aggressively or destructively.
Using positive reinforcement training means you are rewarding the behaviors or actions that you like, and ignoring the behaviors you don’t. There are many forms of rewards that can be used, including treats, praise, games, walks, car rides, etc. Some dog owners have even adopted clicker training as a form of positive reinforcement training, however it can be done without this.
So, why positive reinforcement? Some training experts believe that physical punishment or harsh corrections can have the side-effect of causing distrust, fear, possible injury, and/or aggression in your dog. For example, yanking them with a choke chain if they’ve done something wrong could possibly hurt their throat, or cause them to bite out of fear.
Another reason some trainers don’t believe in using physical punishments is because it actually inhibits your training efforts. Let’s say your dog is corrected for lying down when asked to sit… he or she could become confused and fearful when asked “down”, and likely will not perform the task or trick.
Using positive reinforcement training relies on teaching your dog to behave as you would like him or her to using treats, toys, play, petting, and whatever else the dog likes. If your dog is doing something you don’t like, instead of punishing you could try to teach them to do something different for a reward. Prevention and reward are considered by many to be the key to improving canine behavior.
F.I.D.O., the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc., now offers the Covered Canine Policy, an exclusive product and benefit for F.I.D.O. members only that specializes in Dog Bite Liability Insurance Programs This policy is available in California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin. It will protect you should your dog bite an individual and cause harm. It does not exclude any breed of dog and starts as low as $75 per dog, per year.