I find this very interesting topic to write about.Not only is it a good topic but it is a thing that most of us do without even thinking are we doing the correct thing?Rewarding our dogs.
Having my Three Standard Poodles and all in training for Agility,Obedience and soon Tracking teaching in any of these behavior there has to be some reward.
I have learned in rewarding your pooch for the behavior there are several tools that I have learned to use they are as follows
Food - which makes a dog think
Toy - Which builds Drive
Praise - using after a behavior is corrected and then completed.
Proofing - Challenging a learned behavior then rewarding .
Dogs by nature want to please. They want to know you are happy with what they have done and by rewarding them assures there behavior.But are we rewarding them correctly and timely?And for the proper behavior. For example... Asking your dog to sit if he hesitates and lies down then you correct the behavior and the dog sits do you give a treat? If you answered yes well think again. You just rewarded him for the wrong behavior. you did not ask him to lie down, you asked him to sit so after correcting him you should only praise as in GOOD BOY or GOOD GIRL.
Be sure you are clear in your request don't nag! Dogs do not understand nagging. You could be sending mix singles. Be accurate in your requested behavior for example "Thomas Sit" using adding a hand single such as gently raising your hand the dog will sit wait give time for your dog to process your request as soon as your dog sits fast reward with a treat and praise as in Jack Pot!! Don't nag!!
You don't have to repeat the request. After the dog has done it leave it alone and move on this is specially true with Standard Poodles they will become very bored and find you less fun.
So far I have talked about two of the mention rewards, food and praise. Now I will discuss Toy and proofing.
Playtime is so important to a dog. it builds teamwork trust and a bond if you are at the other end of the toy. It is so easy for us to throw a toy to our pooch and say have at it but truthfully your pooch wants you at the other end so why not toss your dog a bone. You!
Tugging, Retrieving and fetch are fun games and are very rewarding This type of behavior builds drive in your pooch. Dogs love to play and especially with you!
Food is not needed however I have seen some trainers do both but mostly toy is by itself. What is the reward? Why of course it is the toy but your pooch as to give back which is teaching your dog to release back to you. What you have to do to accomplish this is stop the action and the toy becomes dead. as soon as the dog releases a good praise and allow the dog to resume the game by you starting over and telling him or her to get it!!Once all has been accomplish you end the game telling the dog to give taking the toy and praising him or her by Good Boy or Girl and petting on the s side of the dog remember the game has ended and toy is put away.
Proofing. Now this is a good one after all of your hard work is done and your pooch understands your behaviors that you are asking it is time to proof. Lets start with Sit. At this point you should be able to walk away several times and come from all directions to return to your dog without he or she moving you should be able to bend down at the side of your dog behind and in front and the dog should sit if this accomplished then you have put your pooch to the test and proofed that he or she will not move. Only after you have returned should you reward your dog and that is a Jack Pot.
Treating your dog has to be a reward that is understood by both you and your dog. Giving your dog a treat just because he or she is cute does not help just makes your dog fat but rewarding your dog correctly and positive reassures that both you and your dog have a understanding, a bond that will stay with both you and your dog forever!
Remember Treat Responsibly :