Does the Reward Matter?


dogwithboneMany owners ask the question as to why they should use food and reward based training, to train their dog. Some owners feel their dog should do something just because they have asked them to do so.  They feel the dog should be taught a behavior and then just do it, no reward in site.   Nine times out of ten, training a dog this way will lead to the dog not responding, because nothing is in it for them.

I say this all the time, would you go to work and work for free?  Probably not.  If you answered yes then you must love your job (like I do!) but unfortunately my bills won’t let me work for free.  What about after you were very comfortable at your job and you could do it very well, would you do it for free then? What if your boss came to you and said, that he wasn’t going to pay you anymore, how would you feel?  You would probably tell him you would be looking for a new job. Why is it then owners are so quick to want to stop rewarding their dog when the dog does what they ask? Are they not asking the same thing their boss asked from them?  You know how to do it so I am not going to reward you for doing so. I don’t agree with this way of thinking.

We talked about in a previous blog how our expectations are so high of our dogs.  Higher than we would actually expect our children or spouse to perform, and now let us take away the reward, the prize, the shear fun of doing it.

Now I am not telling you for the rest of your life you must carry around a pocket full of treats ready to disperse them like a pez dispenser.  What I am saying is you must always reward your dog whether it be verbal praise, a good belly rub, or a food treat.  One way of actually making your dogs behavior stronger is to keep them guessing.  This will keep their anticipation high, never knowing what you will reward them with.  I will often tell clients to make a list of what items motivate their dog.   Many will start spelling words like W A L K or C A R, because they swear their dogs can spell. (I often don’t tell them that their dog really can’t spell.  They don’t realize the power of association they have created!)  The list will usually open up more ideas for ways they can let the dog know it is doing a good job.

Dogs are no different than people, in that if you don’t let them know they are doing something right they will quit doing it.  Why?  No reward.  Think about it next time your dog  or the people around you does something good.   Let them know.

We can help you with all your dog training needs!  From a new puppy, to a behavior issue you need solved.  Training Canines helps solve problems and prevent them too!  Call Kim Paciotti at 704-877-7821 or email  Visit our website at


No Comments

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.