“We wouldn´t go to work if we wouldn´t get paid” – that´s what we keep saying if people ask us, why we work with reward-based methods in dog training. Our motivation as humans to get up every morning at 6.30am to get ready to go to work, is money. Money that buys us our food, cars, houses, holidays – all the good and necessary things in life.
It´s kind of the same way with our dogs. We get paid in money, they get paid in treats/rewards.
If we make our dogs feel good about doing their job – doing what we ask them to do – then they will be enjoying their job more, therefore work harder.
If we want our dogs to work to the best of their capabilities, then we need to find the right reward. How we pay each dog, can be very individual. The reward can be wet food, cat food, yoghurt, banana or a toy, to name a few of them.
We found that even the most high-drive dogs prefer the food on the trail, even if they usually would spit out a sausage if they see a ball (literally). One of the reasons for this can be, that Mantrailing involves the hunting instinct. They hunt, they catch, they eat. Licking has been proven to release endorphins in dogs (please see picture below).
Credit: Domestic Dog Cognition and Behavior: The Scientific Study of Canis familiaris
edited by Alexandra Horowitz