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Archive for the ‘Fun Facts and Tips’ Category

Whole Dog Journal
By Mardi Richmond, MA, CPDT-KA

Food treats are an easy and effective reward for a dog when training. But food rewards are only one way to build strong behavior. There may be times when you do not want to or cannot use food, and there may be times when the best reinforcement is something other than a hot dog! Here are five great ways to reward your dog when you don’t want to reach for the treat pouch.

1) Play with your dog! Anyone who has trained for an active sport like agility or flyball knows the value of using toys, games, and play in training. But toys, games, and play don’t apply only to the sports-minded. Playing with your dog can be a powerful relationship-building tool, as well as a potent reward. Tugging and retrieving may be the most obvious play rewards, but playing games with your dog is limited only by your (and your dog’s) imagination.

2) Use “life rewards.” These are things that your dog enjoys in his daily life, such as going for a walk, running in the backyard, or splashing in a sprinkler – and they can be harnessed by using the Premack Principle.

This principle says a “low-probability behavior” (one that the dog or other subject is less likely to perform, such as waiting calmly at the door) can be reinforced by a “higher probability behavior” (one that the dog prefers, such as getting to race happily around the yard). For example, to strengthen your dog’s sit, ask him to sit before giving him access to any of the things he really enjoys – running with his pals, swimming in the pond, or cuddling next to you on the couch. This type of reward is easy to integrate into your daily life, and can be especially helpful for dogs who need assistance with self-control.

3) Offer a warm word. Praise, “happy talk,” or a simple “Good dog!” may be the most common type of reward there is! Some dogs naturally find praise rewarding, but…Read More Here

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