Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Using Food as Motivation

 What motivates your dog might vary from day to day! But dogs generally have something the love more then anything else. Cam has 2 high value reinforcers that I can use to motivate him; food or treats & tennis balls. Today I'm going to use food as my example.

When it comes to a successful training session, food is by far the easiest way to reinforce your dog for doing what you want. Food can be broken in tiny pieces, delivered quickly, and delivered at the perfect time for you to capture the behavior you are teaching. If I'm teaching something new, food is by far the best motivator.
However using food reinforcement has its downfalls too. Using food that is too low of value for the behavior you are after can cause the dog to get up and leave, checking out of your training session. Using food that is too high of value for the behavior your after can cause the dog to lose focus.

In this video, you will see that Cam is offering a ton of similar behaviors but takes awhile to get around to the behavior I'm asking. All I'm asking for is simple targets that he's known and done for years. I'm using dehydrated liver to reinforce several very simple behaviors. I also haven't done any training sessions with Cam in several days. My +R is simply too high of value for the job so Cam isn't really paying attention to what I'm asking. All he can think about is the food.
If your dog is highly food motivated, you may want to look for less value motivators for simple jobs and save the high value treats for hard work such as learning a new skill.

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