Apr 2, 2010

Identifying Effective Rewards

Dog and his Toy

Knowing what your dog considers to be a reward and having the ability to use that as an advantage in training can make the difference between making a behavior 99.99% reliable in a couple days and making it reliable in a couple weeks.

Giving your dog a piece of cheese or a good pat on the head is all find and dandy but it might not be as effective as we think. If the dog's main attention is on something else, or expecting something completely different, the "Good boy!" and the pat on the head is a poor reinforcer.

As a rule of thumb whenever you want to find a high reinforcer for your specific situation ask yourself this simple question: "What does my dog really want as this moment?"

Lets see a few examples: