How do you reward a dog?

woman giving treats to two dogs

Today's a special day! We are finally talking about your pup's training.


Most probably, your pup has had training already. But I'm my experience, we could all improve our own and our dog's behavior in some way.


Maybe you're thinking:


"Uhh whatever, my dog is too old to learn new tricks"


Well...

gordon ramsay yelling wrong

...no dog is too old to learn new stuff!


Your pup was and still is ready to learn new stuff from you from day one. Why?


Because your dog craves human interactions. Especially your attention!

What's your dog's currency?

Currency? Why are we talking about currencies?!


Read on, you'll understand!


Here's a little story of mine:


When I was 12, my neighbor, Bob, asked me to cut his grass.


Here's what you should know about Bob. He has been collecting beer caps for ages. For him, there's nothing more appealin' than a good'ol budweiser cap from the 80's.


Anyway, I accepted to cut Bob's grass.


Once I was done, I knocked on Bob's door to get paid.


Bob's like: "Right! Thank you Chris for your good work!"


He then pulled a 1993 Busch cap, gave it to me and said "That's worth a lot kid".


Confused I accepted it. But truth be told, what am I going to do with that rusty cap?


Maybe this cap is worth a lot to Bob, but it's worth nothing to me!


Next time Bob asks me to do something, what do you think I'll do?


I'll pass! The reward (beer caps) is of no interest to me.


It's the same thing for dogs! Maybe you think soft treats is the way to go. And maybe it is! But maybe it's not!


Remember my story, it's not because your dog accepts it (just like I accepted the beer cap) that it has value for them.


Not all dogs want to be rewarded with treats.

dog energy levels

Tailor the reward to your dog's needs

Some dogs, with moderate to high-energy levels will prefer a brief play activity. The reward can be a short tug-of-war or one or two tosses of a ball.

Why is my dog jumping and biting the leash?

Is your dog is jumping and biting the leash? That's a sign that your pup is desperately trying to play and playtime should be the reward today.

Hide their favorite toys

The more scarce something is, the more valuable it gets! It's the same thing with dog toys. When you aren't playing with your dog, hide his favorite toys.


This way, your pup will get excited when you bring them out as a reward.

Not all treats are created equal...

Alright, so far we determined that some dogs would rather get extra playtime than food.


For training sessions to be effective, your dog must absolutely love the reward. Liking it is not enough.


Therefore, when you teach a new command, the reward should be real meat.


It doesn't need to be much.


A piece the size of a pea would do for medium to large dogs. And you can go smaller for smaller dogs.


The traditional commercial soft treats are good too. But their value to your dog is less. Therefore, they are less likely to trigger the desired behavior.


I made this little chart for you to think about when rewarding your pup:

chart of treats value

Think about it! Would you try hard to learn a new thing or give up something fun for a penny? Personally, I wouldn't! Not even for a quarter.


And your dog wouldn't either.


However, asking your dog to do something she knows for a commercial treat might work.


In the end, it's crucial that you offer your dog a reward that is worthy of the task accomplished.


A new command or a known command in a new environment should always get the highest reward.

So, how did I do?


I feel like this email was much better than the last one.

And I "tried" to keep it short! 


Have a great night,

Chris 


P.S. Keep in mind, affection doesn't count as currency. Give your pup as much love as you'd like, for free!

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