What does your dog find rewarding?

Rewards for dog training
Food is a great reward for a lot of dogs

Having a think of all the foods and other things that I find rewarding, coming home from a long-wet dog walk. A hot chocolate is my reward, for being out there, a bar of chocolate is an even bigger reward for me though (get the drift I like chocolate).
Let us think about what your dog likes in terms of reward. We all assume and possibly use treats for a job well done, we have gone into great research (hopefully) of all the treats in the shops, looked at ingredients, made sure these are safe and healthy for our dog. Some of us have even had a go at making our own, liver cake, smelly chicken, dehydrated some foods, etc. We have tried making them as smelly and appetising for the dog. We have even experimented on what the dog favours most, “is it cheap sticky chicken from the supermarket or as I see a lot the “hot dogs” the answer is always the same from new owners, “my dog loves them,” question is does the dog love them or are they just a foody dog? We can mention low value and high value rewards, eventually high value becomes low value as the dog receives so many of them. Same as me with the hot chocolate, its just a drink, but if I add a certain irish cream “WOW” its high value again, so think about mixing the treats up, he will never know what is coming.

Do I have to use food?

Dog training great yarmouth
Maybe your dog likes toys?

Rewards is not only food, not all dogs are foody, what about toys? We all have that big basket of toys in the corner but look at whether your dog plays with them or just gets one out and brings it to you, do you just say “ahh that’s his favourite” or do you play with him and interact, that would be rewarding for him. Each of mine have that special toy only bought out when we have that special one to one time, which is rewarding for both of us and bonding time.

What about giving my dog a fuss?

dog training Norfolk
A little stroke can go a long way

Talking of bonding with your dog through reward , lets look at touch, I personally think of that as rewarding for both of us, (yep my dogs are allowed on my sofa), they enjoy touch it does not have to be a full on keep stroking , but a soft hand on the neck or belly, a gentle ear rub, its rewarding for just being there with each other, the release of Dopamine the feel good chemical works for you both. Finally, smile at your dog, if your bond is good, he will know this, the same as he knows when you are cross, by reading your body language.

So, look at your dog and find out what his real rewards are, you may find out a lot about what your rewards are too.

Around the circle

I am part of a fabulous blog circle with other dog trainers. Each blog in the circle links to the next so you can read what each of them has to say about using rewards in training.

So next in the circle is – Samantha Thorneycroft-Taylor of Languedoc Gundogs in Gloucestershire she talks all about rewarding in dog training

If you would like to know more about how you can use rewards to help train your dogs please get in touch.

3 Replies to “Rewards – how to use them with your dog?”

  1. Great Article! Really informative about other alternative ways of rewarding! Will definitely be trying these alternatives, other than always using treats as my boy definitely needs a diet! Can’t wait for the next post 😊

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