We all know that it has been scientifically proven that the outdated idea of punishment training for dogs is not only desirable – it simply doesn’t work!
Positive training, with appropriate rewards is much more effective and less likely to stress the dog and you!
So what can you use as a reward?
- We tend to think of a reward as being usually food. You can use his ordinary kibble as well as high value “jackpot “ rewards such as chicken but do be aware of not using high value all of the time otherwise you will devalue it’s worth. Save it for that perfect recall away from another dog or a squirrel !
- Play – either with you or a toy or even being allowed to go off and play with another dog. Use a toy that is not in the toy box at home – a special toy for walks that comes out for some fun time between the two of you.
- Attention from you – your dog loves you and doesn’t really want to share you with your mobile phone on the walk!
- Praise! Give your dog credit where it’s due. It’s too easy to only notice when your dog is ( in your eyes) doing something wrong – praise and reward good behaviour as you are more likely to get that good behaviour repeated. Don’t get caught up in the negative attention cycle ( the only time you interact with your dog is when he is misbehaving)
- Mix and match your rewards – you can use a combination of all of them. Some people will say “my dog is not food motivated” – well he is! Instead of feeding him out of the food bowl start feeding him out of your pocket – you will see a change in his attitude towards food in a short space of time. A hungry dog is easier to train than one full up!
- Break up your walk and do short bursts of training so that you are both focused on one another – that way you are re-enforcing attention on you and rewarding good behaviour. For example – 10 steps of walking to heel can be rewarded by a piece of kibble, a “good boy” followed by the ultimate reward of “go play”