We know the benefits of positive enforcement during training but how can we add some variety to our rewards?
There are many ways to reward your pet and they vary a great deal.
These range from simple things such as petting the dog or scratching her ears to more elaborate treats such as home cooked gourmet treats.
The rule regarding behavioral rewards is this: Always be certain to provide the reward immediately after the desired behavior is carried out.
One great idea for a reward is play time with your pet.
Most dogs enjoy a brisk game of tug-o-war or chase.
Some dogs will even show creativity and turn the game of chase into hide and seek, ducking behind bushes, trees or other obstacles and then timidly peeking out from their hiding places to see if you are following.
Your pet enjoys spending time with you, so make this a reward that is used often as it greatly increases the bond between you and the animal.
Another great idea for rewarding your dog is time with a favorite toy.
These are a great toy as they are very durable, dishwasher safe and are great for teaching your dog problem solving in themselves.
This hard rubber toy is shaped like a pyramid of balls balanced one atop the other and hollow in the middle.
The hollow part is where the problem solving skills come into play.
Many trainers will stuff these toys with all manner of goodies and treats before giving them to their pets.
Depending on how tightly they are stuffed and what items you use, unstuffing them can be an all day project for your pet.
Perhaps you and your dog are morning people.
While I’m not going to join your clique, I will share with you an idea that my dogs like for breakfast, though it isn’t usually served in this house until after one in the afternoon.
It’s comprised of eggs, cheese and vegetables along with a large helping of love.
I usually start with scrambled eggs and a bit of whatever meat we might have had for breakfast such as sausage, ham or bacon.
My dogs also like a few vegetables, such as carrots and peas.
This mixture is then topped with cheese to hold all the ingredients together and melted slightly in the microwave.
After doing the microwave, be certain to allow sufficient cooling time to make the treat safe for your pet.
For a bit of variety try different vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower, or perhaps add some mashed potatoes and gravy for a really messy treat!
If we treat our pets well and reward them often, then they will be eager to make us happy by providing whatever behaviors precede our attention.
These treats and rewards do much to add to our relationships with our pets and the time spent in preparation of these morsels shows them we care.
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