06 Feb Rewarding your dog
I get asked quite frequently about rewards for dogs while in training.
This is an interesting question as often it will depend on what your dog finds rewarding, this usually falls into three categories: Food reward, Toy reward or Praise reward.
Food reward – best used if the dog is food motivated (this is where a dog will offer behaviour, like sitting, for a treat) you can start by even using the dog’s own food but when you get outside you may want to use more ‘high value’ treats which include: Chicken, fish and sausage (you can use cheese but please be careful and only use tiny amounts and it’s not advised for pups under 6 months).
Toy reward – best used if the dog is toy motivated (dogs offering behaviour, like recall, for you to throw a ball) I would suggest you put away all toys but the one you are currently seeing if this is your dog’s favourite – if you know that your dog loves a ball or a furry squeaky rabbit you can use this to play with them after they have offered you the behaviour you are looking for while training.
Praise reward – best used if your dog is always wanting you to pet it or pay attention to it you can use this to encourage the dog to offer behaviour and then reward with cuddles / attention.
If you know which your dog will offer then that is great – if your dog is motivated by more than 1 of the above that’s even better. Always remember that if you are training your dog don’t give them the reward unless they have offered a behaviour – I mean you don’t get paid unless you work so make their rule the same!
If your dog is seemingly unmotivated by any of the above it will be up to you to find out what motivates your dog and use it to your advantage!