PAY YOUR DOG WAGES.
Sitting in your garden relaxing in the sun or going to work, which would you choose? I’m pretty sure most would choose the garden but decide to go to work as you get paid. This makes it worth you’re while & of course the more money you get the more likely you enjoy work & are more eager to work.
The same applies to dogs. They may love to run off, have fun & get up to mischief, so expecting them to stop, listen & learn needs to be worth while for them too, so you need to pay your dog some wages!
Your dog needs to be motivated and rewarded to learn or change behaviours.
Anything your dog needs, or wants, is valuable to them, therefore we can use these to help your dog make the correct choices and achieve success. Examples of these are attention, vocal & physical praise, interaction, food, play, learning and exercise.
Food/treats as rewards
All dogs need food to survive, therefore it is extremely valuable to them, so a fantastic motivator. Treats can be used, especially when ready to practice around distractions, but their daily food can be used at other times.
NEVER be afraid of using lots of food while they are learning, if you don’t, your dog may not achieve success.
When using food treats it is important to use the correct ones, for specific situations or environments, and they must be given at the correct time. It also helps if your dog is a little hungry.
Bin their bowl.
Why give your dog their food in a bowl? Generally, they will eat it too quickly or not bother eating it at all, it must be pretty boring for them.
Food is extremely valuable to your dog, as they require it to survive, so why not use to help teach them and make eating more fun for them.
Instead of their bowl start putting their daily requirements in your treat bag and use throughout the day. Every time you see them do a good behaviour, then give them some. When practicing your training, use to motivate & reward.
Using their daily food means you do not have to worry they are having extra food and gain weight. They will also have more of an appetite and more likely to follow through.
Before you start your training decide on which treats your dogs like the best and put in order.
Bronze – for indoors when practicing, with no distractions.
Silver – for indoors when adding distractions, or outdoors with no distractions. You may find, if your dog is hungry enough, their daily food will still be suitable. If not, then find a treat that they really like.
Gold – for outdoors around distractions. Yet again, you may find their daily food works but if not, use the yummiest treat they love more than anything!
When using silver & gold treats, make sure they do not have these at any other times as they will then not be as valuable to them, therefore not motivate them enough.
Are you worried using treats will become bribery and your dog will only ever follow through if they have a reward? Once your dog fully understands an exercise, you can slowly increase time in between giving food treats and occasionally replace with another reward.
NEVER stop all praise/rewards as your dog will find it is no longer beneficial and stop responding.
Do dogs need to be corrected?
Unfortunately, there are still people who believe that if a dog does something they shouldn’t a physical correction, or even shouting at them, is needed - this isn’t necessary!
Corrections may result in a dog stopping an undesirable behaviour but this is only because they are afraid to get the correction again. Surely fear is not the reason a dog should do what is asked of them?