The power of using food rewards in your dog training

Food is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to motivate and train your dogs. Think of it as very similar to the way you view your pay check each week…how long would you work at your current job if they stopped paying you? A day, a week, maybe a couple of weeks? If you are not using food to train and motivate your dogs then you could be missing out on one of the simplest ways to get your dog performing at a higher level than they currently are. And dog training food rewards isn't difficult.

 I hear this all the time…

  • Question: “My dog will only come if I am using food rewards and if I am not they ignore me…what should I do? “
  • Answer: read the following and watch the video

There are many misconceptions about food so here are some simple answers to the key questions that will help you get the most out of every tidbit you use…

Why do I need to motivate my dog?

If your dog is not motivated and enjoying your training they will not perform as well as they can, or as enthusiastically.

Dog Training with Food Rewards

Are there not other ways to motivate a dog other than food?

Yes there are three main positive ways to train a dog using motivation 1. Toys – some dogs simply love the rewards of a toy such as a ball or a stick. 2. Affection – many dogs will do anything for a pat or a cuddle, you are very lucky if you are in this group. You have a dog who simply loves to please 3. Food – this is the by far the biggest group of dogs and often the most powerful. These dogs will do anything for a tasty snack.

Why use food ?

It is possible that your dog may fit into all three groups, which again is a bonus. However if your dog is one of the many who will only work for food then you are making life very hard for you and your dog if you don't use food at all. You simply have to learn how to use it correctly.

Won't my dog then only work for food ?

Food rewards should not happen all the time. They will be very frequent at the start during the learning phase and also with a young puppy but you need to learn how to fade them out as I show you in the video. The rewards need to become more like a lottery pay out where you are hoping for a big prize and are unsure if you will win but live in hope and keep trying! The only thing that you have to put into place is the activity of making the food rewards random. This means that sometimes your dog will receive food rewards of different types, quantity, quality, shape and size! It also means that sometimes your dog shall only receive a pat or a cuddle as a reward.

So if you would like to learn how to fade food rewards out so they become random rewards then simply watch the video. It is not tricky but will certainly make your life easier and keep your dog guessing and listening to you!

Find out more about how I've trained over 77,000 dogs here

Have a puppy? Check out my Puppy Coach training program instead!

I hope this helped. Hit me with some feedback!!


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Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.

1 Response

  1. Thank you for the video’s I especially liked the swimming session. I live on the Big Island of HI so your video gave me some good tips. My most important question is dealing with smaller breeds like Chihuahua’s. They seem to be more excitable and harder to train. Is this true?. I’m not sure what breed Moses is but he appears to be a larger breed. I’m finding being patient and calm to be the most challenging. Doris Paul. .

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