How to Reward a Dog

In the beginning, the dog is rewarded after each good action. Once the dog understands and masters the command, alternate rewards during education. At this stage, do not show the dog the treat before saying the command. From now on, the dog will not get a treat each time. If the dog doesn’t see the treat, the will not be incited to obey you less. The best way to increase the quality of results obtained is to decrease food given at mealtime by 50%, and compensating by giving him the difference during training sessions. It all depends on the quantity of food your dog consumes. We suggest that you take a fistful of food from the dog’s bowl for use during the training sessions. Therefore, prepare a schedule, and decide how much food will be given during training and at mealtime. Conduct the education sessions before a meal, and do not exceed 15 minutes and should be subdivided. The usual routine can be resumed when performances are excellent, while always saving a small part of the food given during the meal and the training sessions. At this stage in the reinforcement, periodical intervention is required to maintain the quality of the learning. In order to insure stability in your results, in your results, periodical reinforcement with food will be done from now on, and this, through out the dog’s life.

Variable or intermittent reinforcement is more efficient to improve behavior than a predicable one. Once the behavior has been learned, you can reinforce the best responses, which will effect improve the dog’s performance.

We recommend using different kinds of treats depending on the dog’s performance:

TYPE 1: food that the dog usually eats, to be used the most often.

TYPE 2: To be used less often than the first, as it attracts the dog more easily.

TYPE 3: To be given only when the dog’s performance is exceptional, for it is the one most appreciated by the dog.

The quantity of food required to reward the dog: Rookie dog trainers often ask themselves how much food should be given to the dog a reward: as little as possible!

The sm aller the amount, the faster the dog will eat it. Consequently, it will take longer for the dog to be full, and the dog stands less of a chance to become obese. For many, a piece of dog chow, a piece of chicken or dried liver is enough. Should the dog impress you with the speed he executes a command, if he executes a command well for the first time, or if he does a series of commands faultlessly, have a "special treat" on hand to reward him duly. Such a tactic, used at the right time, will enhance the quality of the results you obtain.

Variable Reinforcement: Not knowing what treat he will receive motivates the dog to know what your hand or pocket contains. When you use this technique, the dog will always expect to receive a treat, even if he cannot see it. He will therefore continue to respond to your commands with as much enthusiasm, and his motivation will be maintained.

If the rewards (primary reinforcements such as food, praise or touch) are unexpected, your dog will never stop trying, treat or not. If you do not give him food, you should pet him. You can alternate treats to show the dog that many attempts without a treat will result in a huge treat in the end. Frequently change your treats: throw the rope, play ball, give him his favorite toy, take a walk in the park, anything the dog loves to do.

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