I often talk in class about the importance of rewards and the correct ones! So I thought I’d write a quick blog to show you all that I do practice what I preach when it comes to my own dogs.
Today we went for a lovely early morning walk through the fields, I always have my treat bag on me as I strongly believe in rewarding my dogs good choices and behaviour, so the treat bag is something I would never leave home without. Regardless of how well trained I think my dogs are they are still dogs and can still face distractions. It is my job as a responsible owner to train them through those distractions and reward them for the good choices they make!
Those in my classes will know I mention ‘jackpot’ rewards, well I had a moment on today’s walk with both Milo and Flash individually where I was able to jackpot them for a really good choice they had made; Milo had recalled off a pheasant and Flash had gone off to the side into a field where I couldn’t see him due to a big hedge wall, both dogs recalled first time with just 1 recall command! That deserved a jackpot!
Let me explain, it’s not because of MY emotions (I was very happy) that they got their jackpot reward, it was because THEY had made a fantastic CHOICE by themselves – they could of ignored me and carried on, however because I have implemented training and given the appropriate rewards they made the choice to come back first time.
Why did I jackpot it if I expected that outcome…. if I’d trained for it shouldn’t the dogs just do it?!…..
Well it depends on your mindset and the method of training you choose to implement with your dogs but for me I will always continue to reward their good choices. The more reinforcement or reward we give means the dog will then choose the same choice in the future. If I stopped rewarding that choice then it will not take the dog long to go and seek his own reward somewhere else.
Dog Training isn’t just about the dog doing certain behaviours, it is about the bond it creates between dog and owner. I’m sure you all bought a dog to enjoy spending time together, it’s important that we are actually enjoying our walks with our dogs, not getting upset with them for the choices they make. Rewards are just a way of us paying the dog for choosing the correct choice.
Rewards don’t always have to be food, you can use praise, fuss /love and toys but it’s important they are all used correctly. I use a mixture of all these forms of rewards but I will always use food and verbal praise / fuss when out and about.
I make sure I reward their choices appropriately not everything will get a jackpot. As you can see with the picture below I have some cabbage / veg also in my bag and I also have some of their kibble (not shown as its inside the pouch). Not all of the rewards in there have the same level of value to my dogs, it’s important to have a range of value and choice.
The picture below shows the product brands and packaging for your reference. All of these products are available from our shop with the exception of the platinum sticks at the top left of the picture.
We don’t sell any product that we wouldn’t use for our own dogs as quality is a top priority when we looking for products to stock.
If you want to learn more about how to correctly reward your dog with food, toys and praise get in touch and come and join us on this fun journey of games based dog training!
Play….. Train…… Enjoy…… Succeed!