All dogs are different and as such their payment and work ethic will be different. Like people, some will do it for the love but others need a big payment!
You need to know what value your dog will work for. Knowing your dog and his/her little quirks helps you to effectively train your dog, and as a side note, those little quirks have probably been installed by you inadvertently.. Food for thought.. and for discussion some other time..
Ok, lets look at what it takes for your dog to have his/her behaviour modified otherwise known as trained. I say behaviour modified because you are training your dog to change their behaviour not just know how to do something. You want your dog to act every time because that command is your dogs behaviour modification not just a decision to perform a task this time but maybe not next time.
You modify a dogs behaviour through association. A dog will need to associate a positive (reward) or a negative (correction) to change a behaviour. That positive or negative needs to be consistent and timely as discussed in my blog 7 key principles to how dogs learn. As we are discussing reward in this blog, a positive needs to be a real positive for your dog to really associate to make change.
So what does this mean? Lets say your dog is a massive fan of chicken, then use chicken to train your dog. If your dog loves a toy then use that toy. Now some would say their dog likes kibble and sure they probably do, but to use it for training is kind of like being paid a low end wage.
Not a bad thing, but your dog will easily become distracted and take the next best offer - such as a sweet tail that’s just strutted in to the park. You might find you have some competition on your hands!
So, the point here is if you want your dog to stick around and learn so that his/her behaviour is modified.. pay up in the big stakes (maybe steaks?), you need to be using the correct reward otherwise known as a high value reward so that your dog associates the learning outcome with the reward and that reward is OMG and totally worth doing what you command!
When your dog is new at learning something and you run out of chicken (or whatever your doggos choice is) don’t drop to a lower value reward just to get a few more minutes of training in. End the session and come back when you have more chicken.
If you lower the value of the reward its like getting a pay cut and watch that enthusiasm drop.. oh tail...sniff sniff...
Remember to only do short sessions with small pieces of treat if using food. If you are using a game with a toy then give your dog breaks between games as you don’t want this to become exhausting hard work for your dog and have them give up. Always leave your dog wanting more so that next session your dog will be keen to start the learning game again.
If you’re keen to know more on how you can find your dogs high value reward then you need to sign up to the Dog Squad because we will be sending out a how to guide to members this week... we know that Dog Squad members are committed to dogs so keep an eye out for your email this week with your how to guide.
Also, don't forget that Dog Squad members can help dogs by shopping at the Muddy Pawz Fit Dog Shop. A portion of the profit of Dog Squad members purchases will go to dog rescue! That's how committed we are to dogs!
Thanks for being part of the Dog Squad!
Emma and Ayla xx