An effective method to get dogs to listen to you is to use food treats. The dogs momentarily forget about what’s around them and patiently follow the instructions provided by the owner. Most people tend to heavily rely on using the food-based reward system when their dogs listen to them. As time progresses, they forget about phasing out the system as it is more convenient than anything else. On top of that, the dogs will only respond when you have food to offer. So how do train dogs and reward them without treats? Here are 5 different ways to reward your dog.
- Give your dog life rewardsOnce your dog has successfully finished the set of commands that it was supposed to follow, take your dog out for a walk or allow them to run in the backyard or get splashed by the sprinkler. Just allow them to do any activity they enjoy after the end of every training session.
- Play with your dogAnother way to reinforce the good behavior is to play with your dog after it followed your every command. You can give access to their favorite toys such as a ball or a Frisbee to reward them. You can also play games with your dog like hide and seek, tug o’ war, and fetch. Playing is also a great way to establish a relationship with your dog.
- Cuddle with themDogs love to be cuddled. Once they have done what you wanted them to do, you can pat them on the head or give them belly rubs as a form of reward. They also like it when you give them long and slow strokes on their backs. However, you have to judge when it is the right time to cuddle with them. If they are avoiding you because they want to play, then touching them is not a gesture for a reward. If they come close to you when you pat them, then it is a rewarding gesture.
- Talk to your dogEveryone loves to receive praises and that includes your four-legged friend. Words are very powerful and can form strong connections with your dog. When they have completed the given set of tasks, you can reinforce their good behavior with words such as ‘Who’s a good boy/girl?’ or ‘good dog’ as a form of positive reinforcement. By adding happiness to the tone of your voice, your dog will know that you are acknowledging its good behavior.
- Removing boundariesYou might have set boundaries in certain places in your house such as the kitchen and the bedroom. You can reduce the size of these boundaries and allow your dog to take one step closer to these places as a reward for listening to your commands. That way, your dog will understand that you trust them and will become more obedient.
Now you know how to reward your dog with positive reinforcement that doesn’t involve treats. This way, your dog will always listen to you, irrespective of whether you are going to reward them for their good behaviour.