WORDS OF WOOFDOM – “He only listens if I have a treat.”
“My dog only listens to me when he knows I have a treat.” We hear this from clients often. So what is a pet parent to do? The answer is simple, when teaching your canine a new behavior, it is helpful to reinforce (treat) continuously. That is treat every time your canine does the behavior you are teaching as a reward for doing what you asked. However, once your canine companion knows the behavior and responds quickly and consistently, then it is time to reinforce with food intermittently or only some of the time. Start by only reinforcing every other time, then every fourth, then every tenth, and so on. Think about gambling. Those who gamble are only being reinforced intermittently and they still want to play! You want your canine companion to do what you ask because each time has the potential of offering a jackpot reward. The times when there is no treat reward just strengthens the response when there is a treat reward. Even though the treats only come every so often, we recommend you always praise your canine companion and reward with love and affection. That is a jackpot for the both of you, every time.
Beth & Wayne
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