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Reward is what's rewarding for your dog

Updated: Nov 16, 2022


Many times I hear from clients: “I want my dog to work for me, so I reward with petting only.” “I don’t like to play tug, can I just use treats as rewards?” “Oh, hotdogs are gross, I’ll better use other treats.” “I am just not that emotional person, so I don’t want to praise loud and actively.” And so on…

People need to understand that REWARD is what dog thinks is rewarding. Not what you think is.

How would you think, if your boss would decide that he or she doesn’t want to deal with all payroll stuff and would better just praise you for your job and not giving you money. I don’t think you would work for such person or would be happy about it… Same with dog.

If you see that ball is more motivating than a tug – you use ball for training. If you see that your dog likes hotdogs more than other treats – you use them for training. If you see that your dog loves chase more than tugging – you let it chase toy. If your dog lives for hugs and scratches – you give them to it. If your dog loves to play with water – you can use water pistol.

It’s not up to you to decide what is rewarding for your dog!!! If you want to see happy, engaged and obedient dog next to you, you need to give dog what it wants.

I personally have one dog that doesn’t have much food motivation. So I use toy as a reward for him. At the same time just getting a toy isn’t that rewarding for him. Trying different options I found out that most rewarding event for him is when at first I throw toy for him, so he would chase it, and then play tug game.

Another one loves tugging and jumping on me – so I use that as reward for him.

And my younger one is crazy about food, so I use food as a reward for her. You always need to read the dog and see what really motivates it and what makes it really happy.


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