When it comes to any kind of training, the power of rewards play a mayor role in what you and your dog are able to accomplish.
When the training process begins, it starts off solely on positive reinforcement, meaning you give your dog a high value reward in return for getting the behavior you have asked for.
There are two reasons for this:
- It makes training enjoyable for your dog, and makes him actually want to learn what is being asked.
- It shapes and molds the initial behavior that is to be obtained.
Dogs naturally learn through the simple experiences of positive or negative outcomes. For example, if your dog gets into the garbage and finds scraps of food, it is likely that he will go back to that bad behavior of getting into the garbage, because the scraps of food acts as a positive reward for that behavior.
By using positive reinforcement, your dog’s natural instinct will be to perform that behavior again in order to get what he desires.
With that in mind, once you truly know how to motivate your dog to do what is being asked during training time, the possibilities become endless!
What motivates your dog?
To start understanding the power that rewards have in training, you have to figure out what motivates your dog. Every dog is an individual and can be motivated by something different.
Different Reward Motivators for Dogs
Our first and most natural motivator for dogs is food. Food is the root of what every animal needs to survive, so it is naturally reinforcing.
Our training process begins with extensive use of food as rewards for numerous reasons such as:
Teaching new behaviors,
Teaching your dog how to direct their attention,
Creating a communication system between you and your dog.
Most dogs are food motivated, especially younger dogs, which makes the beginning of the training process easier.
Our second reward motivator is our dogs’ instinctive prey drive.
Put simply, prey drive is your dog’s desire to chase and grab things in its mouth.
This varies from dog to dog based on numerous factors such as: genetics, breed, and general up-bringing.
Throughout the training process, we manipulate this to teach your dog how to play and stay motivated. Being that some dogs are more motivated by prey drive than others, we later use your dogs prey drive in play-time as a reward system for your dog.
Mix of both
Beyond food and toys, we use a mix a both food motivators and prey drive by making the reword an event, oppose to making it about what you have in your hand.
Whether it’s food or a toy we make the rewards a mini event in which the dog has a fun interaction with us. This not only ensures that the reward doesn’t become about the food in your hand, but about the whole interaction between you and your dog.
You’ll start to notice that your dog will start paying more attention to you, and will be more engaged in what you and your dog are doing together.
Teaching your dog right from wrong never has to be a bad or stressful experience for either you or your dog!
Now that you have begun learning about the power reward based training has, reach out for more information on how to find out what the best motivation technique for your dog is.
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