‘Love List’: Rewards & Motivation in Training

Happy Sunday folks! Last week I uploaded a post asking people to have a think about ’10 things that their dog loves’.

Why? Because having a true idea of what your dog adores and enjoys can be key to getting it right when it comes to training and resolving unwanted behaviours.

Think outside the box…

When thinking about what it is your dog loves, ask yourself why? I.e. Why does my dog enjoy chasing? Why does my dog enjoy tug of war? Here are a list of some of the things my French Bulldog, Freddie, absolutely LOVES and a little thought behind them.

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Freddie’s ‘Love List’:

  1. Shredding tennis balls – It’s natural for dogs to enjoy dissecting things. It’s a very typical behaviour for them to display; whether it’s tearing apart a stick or pulling parts of meat from a raw bone, some dogs find it very enjoyable! Freddie even opened his own Christmas presents this year…did your pooch?
  2. Playing with dogs – Freddie LOVES other dogs. Some dogs adore interacting with people, others prefer engaging with fellow canines, some aren’t fussed about either! It varies depending on a dogs preferences.
  3. Enjoying scents – Another thing Fred loves is having a sniff whilst on a walk. Checking out who has been at this bush, walked past that tree, pee’d over by that fence…it’s all thoroughly enjoyable for him! Exploring the environment with his nose is a big tick.

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How to use this to your advantage:

Instead of using treats as a reward every time a dog does something good (e.g. recalling back to you, a good ‘Wait’, giving you eye contact), use one of the 10 things on your dogs ‘Love List’ that you put together!

Walter’s lovely Mum included in a comment on our Facebook post that one thing on Walter’s ‘Love List’ is water. This is a perfect example of an environmental reward!

Example of how to Walter’s Mum could use water as a reward for recall: With a water spot ahead/nearby, say “Walter, come!” and when he gets to you say “YES!” then show him the water or run to the water with him!

This will teach your dog that you provide access to EVERYTHING he/she loves! Not only will this improve your bond, but it will improve their behaviour too.

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So, give it a go when walking/training/spending time with your dog next week. Whether it is taking some time out to really observe what they do & what they love or put the ‘Love List’ to the test during some training sessions…

Let us know how you get on and what your dog values the most. But most importantly, have fun!

Natalie 🐾

Owner & Founder  |  K9 Development Centre

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