We all know that it has been scientifically proven that the outdated idea of punishment training for dogs is not only desirable – it simply doesn’t work!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 dog training reward?
- We tend to think of a reward as being usually food. You can use his ordinary kibble and high-value “jackpot “ rewards, such as chicken, but do be aware of not using high value all of the time; otherwise, you will devalue its worth. Save it for that perfect recall away from another dog or a squirrel!
- Play with you or a toy or even be allowed to go off and play with another dog. Use a toy 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 want to share you with your mobile phone on the walk!
- Praise! Give your dog credit where it’s due. It’s too easy only to 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. Please 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”