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  • All dogs have the ability to change their behavior if properly motivated and rewarded.

    What motivates your dog? Many owners feel that an "atta boy” should be enough for their dog, but we need to look at what is reinforcing to that dog at that moment. Food might be very reinforcing right before mealtime. Playing ball might not be reinforcing if your dog has just been on a five mile run.

    Praise

    Verbal or physical. This type of reinforcement is what many people think their dog ought to work for. Some breeds and breed-types of dogs are very happy to do just about anything you want for a little bit of attention. A dog fresh out of his kennel at the shelter will crave human attention. If you are constantly telling your dog how cute and how good he is just for simply existing will he quickly lie down on command for the same praise that he got earlier for doing absolutely nothing?

    Food

    Pretty basic need for most dogs. Types of food can be more appealing through texture and odor. Cheese or meat usually has more appeal than dry kibble. A hungry dog can stay pretty focused on his training session.

    Toy

    High energy dogs love a good game of tug and we all have seen crazy ball dogs! Many of these dogs will snub their nose at food just for a little chase action.

    Another Behavior

    Some dogs love jumping up on things or getting invited up on the bed. Retriever-type dogs enjoy access to water or a thrown object. A male dog who likes lifting his leg on favorite trees might be eager to do a few obedience behaviors for that very privilege.

    Whatever reward you choose, be sure that it is desirable to that dog at that moment .

    Janine Allen
    Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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