Rewarding my dogs is the best part of dog training for me. Rewarding my dogs tell them what they did correct and also that my training is going in the right direction. I would even say rewarding gives me a sense of being high!
Using the right kind of reward
Using the right kind of reward is just as important as rewarding in itself. Dogs are different and some of them love toys while others prefer treats. I know my dogs prefer toys over treats and I also know which toys and treats they favour above the rest. This gives me the opportunity to vary the “strength” of the reward depending on how well the dogs did and also depending on what kind of behaviour we are working on.
Find out what your dog prefers and rank them to know which are better than others. The most important thing to remember, the DOG decides what it favours. If you bought an expensive toy which ends up as a number two behind an old sock, be happy! You have now found your dogs number one reward!
Use jackpot and be silly
When me and my dog train together and I see my dog doing her best and accomplishes what I wanted her to do I bring out the JACKPOT! A jackpot for my dogs is when I play with them, appraise them and use myself as a reward along with the to. I believe dogs don’t just separate reward/no reward but also the intensity of the reward. See what my jackpot with Buffy looks like in the video below:
What are you rewarding?
With the correct reward and the correct “strength” of the reward it is also important to remember to reward what you want. It sounds easy enough, but it is really easy to also reward the wrong thing. An example can be teaching your dog “stay”, where it is important to reward the dog while it’s still in “stay”. So reaching out your hand to reward your dog with a treat while the dog gets up to eat the treat will be rewarding what?
“You Get What You Reinforce, Not What You (Necessarily) Want” Bob Bailey