When we’re training our dogs it’s important to use a reward that the dog actually likes, not what we assume they should like.
The typical idea of training is that you just stuff hotdogs and cheese into the dogs mouth until they behave. When in reality, many of the dogs we work with won’t actually take food because they’ve habitually gotten themselves too stressed.
If we want our dogs to work with us, we need to use what they communicate is actually rewarding for them. This will differ from dog to dog, but it could be their food, physical or verbal praise, or play with a toy or person. Then within these types of rewards we have different types again, so different values of food, different styles of toys, and preference over people.
What is rewarding to one dog isn’t rewarding for another, and we need to figure out what our own dogs enjoy if we want them to work towards making any meaningful change in their behaviour.
Think of it like like getting a pat on the back from your boss at work, rather than a tasty paycheck.
Spend time with your dog and make a mental note of the things they seem to love the most, even the whacky things they like can often be used towards making training valuable to them.
You just might just stumble upon their ‘Achilles Heel’.