Will Work for Food!

I’m making a declaration in regards to dog training–no more lazy food!

Humans have to go to work everyday for money to feed ourselves and pay bills, and in the dog world food, affection, and play=currency. If you want to bond and work with your dog, do away with the food bowl, ration out the kibble for the day, and put it and a clicker in your pocket.

Every time your pup does something you like click and reward. The clicker is a great teaching tool with dogs, it expedites the learning process by marking the exact behavior you like or ask for. This makes dogs much more attentive to you. You can also shape behaviors with the clicker by clicking and treating at various stages of a behavior. This is how agility training is taught. You can learn more about clicker training here: http://www.clickertraining.com/ also the book “Don’t Shoot the Dog” by Karen Pryor is very informative about teaching all animals with operant conditioning.

I also say don’t let the dogs push you around for affection and play. Ask them to sit, give paw, down, etc. before giving affection or play. Small adjustments like this to your daily routine with challenge your dog more and make them more respectful overall. It’s not about not giving affection but giving it at the right time.

Another great tool to help challenge dogs, give them a job, and burn energy is the dog backpack. If you have a somewhat hyper dog you can put this on them during walks and put some full water bottles or ankle/wrist weights in the pockets or whatever you need to carry, just make sure its not too heavy. This also obviously only appropriate for dogs who don’t have hip problems.

Lastly, I just like to say 90% of the behavior problems (excessive barking, aggression, destructive chewing etc.) I see as a dog trainer are due to lack of exercise, leadership, and stimulation. Asking your dog to work for you in exchange for food, exercising, and leadership/ training= a balanced dog. There are a lot of great toys out there to challenge dogs, stimulate them, plus make them work for food. These include kongs, kibble balls, tennis ball launchers, rawhide bones etc. I recommend walking your dog in the morning then coming home and putting their food in a kibble ball or kong so they have to work for it. This keeps them busy/ stimulated while you’re at work.
Good products include Kongs, Busy Buddy Dog Toys, and there’s a great website, Active Dog Toys, that carries wide variety of stimulating toys. Check all of these things out, your dog will thank you!
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3 Comments

Filed under Dogs, Training

3 responses to “Will Work for Food!

  1. This is awesome! Thank you–I’m forwarding to all my fellow dog-lovers…
    Love Peace
    Lisa

  2. Dogs are pretty amazing animals, right? You can easily train them, work with them and make friends with them. But that does not really apply to all because there are some dogs out there that tend to become very strict and they only obey to their owners.

    It is nice to know that despite of the fact that they can hurt people, many individuals still love to have one. It is their cuteness and their charm that makes people want to have them while they are still puppies.

  3. Maggie

    Check out the book “Ditch the Dish; will work for food” it outlines an entire program based on the principals you’re talking about. Wonderful read!

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