Trainers often hear pet guardians lament, “He never does that for me!”

And perhaps it is true.

Why does this happen?

How does your trainer make it look easy?

The reasons for this are many, but one of the simplest explanations is just a word:


Too many people think that positive reinforcement training is “just” where you feed the dog a treat. This common misconception is missing a foundational element: in order for a behavior to be reinforced, the reward must be APPROPRIATELY REINFORCING.

Guess who decides what is appropriately reinforcing? (Spoiler alert: it isn’t you.)

Most of the animals we see at Synergy are exhibiting behaviors that clearly indicate an underlying emotional struggle- fear and anxiety are the most common reasons for challenging behaviors such as lunging, barking, biting, destruction, etc.

When you are training your dog through these struggles, you are asking them to make a massive mental and emotional shift. You are asking them to fundamentally change the emotional reactions that are designed to keep them safe.

Dr. Amy Cook said these words: “Emotional change requires a big emotional impression.”

What this means is that the reason your dog seems to respond better to your trainer is because we make the reward a REALLY BIG DEAL.

How do we make the reward a REALLY BIG DEAL? It’s easy!

????Feed WAY more treats than you think. Imagine way more treats than you think you’ll use. Ok? Now triple that amount and use THAT many.

????BE EXCITING. If you want that big emotional change, YOU need to be big and emotional! Get happy! Dance! Party! Celebrate your pet’s incredible win, no matter how small! Show them how this is a REALLY BIG DEAL with a massive smile, bouncy movement, and FUN!

????PLAY. Infuse your interactions with JOY and with PLAY. If you are trying to convince your dog that a thing isn’t scary, your energy better be HAPPY and SAFE and filled with JOY.

????Training should be fun for both teacher and learner. If it’s not, you aren’t doing it right.


Synergy Can Help!

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