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The Importance of Reinforcers

How Rewards Help With Training

Just as consistancy is important, another key to positive reinforcement training is finding out how to reward your dog. Just like people, dogs are motivated by different things. Some common rewards are treats, affection, and activity. Finding the right reward for your dog can make training more fun and less frustrating for both of you! Rewarding your dog appropriately also helps to strengthen your relationship. By building a stronger bond, your dog will want to repeat behaviors that make you happy.

How do I use rewards?

Look at rewards from your dogs’ point of view. Something may seem valuable to you, but it may be less valuable to your dog. Working with your dog to figure out what rewards are good for everyday situations, versus rewards that are good for more difficult circumstances will make training much easier.

You may find the correct reward that works for your dog, but timing can make all the difference. For example, if you ask your dog to lay down, then have them come to you for a treat, the dog will be confused on what she is being treated for. Is it for laying down, or is it for walking over to you? Rewarding the dog immediately as they do the behavior, and in the position you want them to be in, helps them understand what exactly you want.

Check out the AKC’s article on using rewards in training for more information on reinforcers.

Reinforcers at Doggie Day School

When you sign up for Doggie Day School, the first thing we do is schedule an assessment day. During this assessment day, we work with the dog to make sure that this is an environment they are comfortable learning in. We introduce ourselves to you and your pup, see their responsiveness to any previous training, and figure out what their best reward is. We then use that type of reward in their training to make it as successful and stress-free as possible.


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