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  • K-9 Magic

What's in a Reward?

Dogs don't work for free. They want a pay day just like humans do. Their 'pay' comes in different forms. Its not a standard size or item. Rewards come in all shapes and sizes. The vital thing is that the reward is what the dog chooses.

When your starting training with your dog it is important for you to learn what your dog likes and dislikes. Some dogs love toys and will do anything for a toy. Other dogs are all in for food. Some dogs want a combo of toys and treats. There also maybe times for certain reasons you may want to use something that won't make them crazy. For example, if I try to use a toy for agility with my toy crazy lab, she becomes frantic and loses her focus.

One thing that I like to have my clients do early on in their relationships with their dogs is to try different things with their dog. Gather different options for toys and treats. What do they go to first? What do they leave alone? Give them two options at a time. Which do they pick over the other? Build a list of your dogs reward priorities. When your doing easy things, use less valuable rewards. When your doing super hard things, use the reward your dog choose as its number one. You don't want to use the same value reward all the time or it will lose its value. There is no right and wrong answer. It is entirely your dogs preface.

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