What’s the Best Way to Reward Your Dog?
Your pooch has been trying so hard, shouldn’t he be rewarded?
Dogs aren’t a lot different than humans are when it comes to learning and performance…we both like to be rewarded.
- As a child, when our parents were teaching us responsibilities around the house, good performance was often rewarded in the form of an allowance or a special activity or treat.
- As an adult, when we perform well at work, we are rewarded with a paycheck, and if we are especially good, the reward is even better…we earn bonuses.
Did those rewards work? You bet! We continue to make the effort we know is expected of us so we can earn those rewards again the next time…it’s human nature.
Dogs will respond the same way, they will try to do what they are learning you want from them as they are rewarded for their efforts…it’s canine nature.
The 3 T’s of Reward
We both respond to positive rewards and feedback. Of course dogs won’t respond to allowances and paychecks, but there’s nothing they like better than a Tasty Treat or a Touch of praise and Tone of voice affection from their human.
Using the Tasty Treat:
- Use treats that your dog likes…I like using bits of hot dog or pieces of cheese.
- If you use small pieces of food, you will not only avoid filling your dogs tummy, but they are quicker and easier for Fido to eat, allowing you to get right back to whichever behavior you are working on.
- You can also use kibble as a treat as long as your dog thinks it’s a treat.
- If you have been giving your pup a lot of treats, it might be a good idea to cut back a little on his food bowl at dinner time to help him stay lean and trim.
Using a Touch of Praise:
- Even when you’re giving your pup a tasty treat, don’t hold back on the petting, and stroking. Your dog wants to please you, so there is nothing he will enjoy more than attention from you.
Using Tone of Voice Affection:
- Be sure that whether you are Touching or Treating, you vocally praise your dog, using a Tone in your voice that there is no doubt in his mind that you are pleased with what he has done.
When to reward your dog…
Reward your dog immediately after the desired behavior is performed, don’t let him forget how well he has done.
Be generous with your rewards, especially those of touch and praise. As you begin training a young dog, or training an older dog on something new, you can be generous with treats, as long as you always accompany them with touch and praise. As your dog begins to understand what you would like him to do, you can begin backing off the food and reward him with your affection. He’ll never tire of that.
Pawsitive Steps Dog Training offers Puppy Charm School, where we focus on socialization, housetraining, bite inhibition, problem prevention and solutions, handling, with beginning “basic obedience” the Pawsitive way and more!
We believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are under given circumstances and situations.