Positive reinforcement training does NOT mean you will be carrying treats around in your pocket the rest of your dog's life!!! This statement comes as a surprise to many people when they first start learning about how to teach their dogs by reinforcing desired behaviors.
Rewards come in as many forms as there are dogs and people! For our beagle, Daisy, it's mostly about the treat, but she also will turn inside out for her dumbbell and her target stick. For our golden retriever, Husker, it's rarely about the treat, but it's about play time with his humans -- with and without toys. Add in the hose, a sprinkler, or pretty much water of any kind and I think we could get him to balance our check book and fold the laundry!!! For our friend Annie's lab, Preacher, the ultimate reward is his frisbee. He's pretty amazing anyway, but add in his frisbee and watch out!
Be creative when you are pondering what is rewarding and reinforcing to your dogs. (I wish I knew how to develop a treat based on the apparently highly rewarding treats dogs steal from the kitty litter box that humans would actually carry and use -- I'd be a rich woman!!!) Toys, play, walks, tracking, tricks, food, other people, activities, down time, crate time, free time, snuggle time, ear scritches, water play, car rides, hanging with children, nose work, activities, agility, fetch, frisbee, retrieving, sniffing, checking their "pee-mail," doggy playtime, bike riding, hiking, jogging -- the list is endless! Observe your dog -- discover what makes her insides get all gooey and makes her go weak in the knees. What a powerful training tool you will then possess! When you find reward(s) that your dog will do anything for, the training world for both you and your dog holds infinite potential!
Uncovering what makes your dog tick is an extraordinarily wonderful leg of the journey we share with our canine companions -- enjoy!!! When you find out something new about your dog, drop me a line, send me an email, or post a photo -- we'd love to be part of your journey!