The 11 best positive reinforcers in dog training

When you train with your dog, you can reward him in many different ways. With these 11 positive reinforcers, you can motivate your dog especially well during daily training.

Treats are not the only possible rewards when training with your dog. Depending on what your dog is passionate about, there are many other positive reinforcers as well.

Play rewards
They lead to high arousal levels, the dog must actively relax afterwards. Pet, cuddle or massage him if he likes it. Alternatively, give something to chew on or make simple treat-seeking game to get him to “come down”.

  1. litter games: Advantage: many dogs love them, suitable for example as chase training. The downside to them is that the dog needs to be warmed up because of abrupt starts and stops.
  2. tug games: They can be used on the spot. Important: The dog should pull, not shake. Be aware of the risk of injury on slippery floors.
  3. search games: For many dogs, they are a very high reward. For example, search games are good for hunting training. The food bag can be effectively used for dogs who are on food. Positive side effect: serves as physical exercise and stimulates thinking.

Environmental rewards
You can also use the environment to reward the dog. Here’s how to motivate the dog without having to take anything.

1st Scan: Let your dog observe the environment. This is a great reinforcer for eye dogs. If the dog looks after game, you should mark it with the clicker or a word, he may keep looking as a reward. However, he should not chase the game. Even before he jumps up, you should draw his attention again.

  1. sniffing: this is usually a very high-quality and effective reward. The dog is allowed to use his nose to explore his surroundings and discover different smells.
  2. digging: The dog is allowed to dig in the ground. This is great fun for most dogs. However, you should be careful: Intensive digging is exhausting and strains the back.
  3. rolling: In the snow or in the grass, most dogs find this very beneficial. Positive side effect: The muscles are massaged, which in turn has a relaxing effect.
  4. water: water-loving dogs are particularly fond of this reward. Whether just splashing around a bit, drinking or actually bathing properly, water can be used as a positive reinforcer depending on the dog’s need.

Rolling around is something many dogs love.©
Food rewards
If you want to reward your dog with food or treats, you have several options:

  1. dry food: the clear advantage is that it is quickly at hand and can be used anywhere. However, dry food will make your dog thirsty.
  2. food tube: Many dogs go crazy for it and is considered a jackpot reward for difficult things. The positive side effect is that licking lowers the excitement level.
  3. chews: They are suitable, for example, when the dog should learn to lie quietly next to the park bench. Positive side effect: chewing relaxes.

Positive reinforcement is effective

Rewarding your dog for desired behavior is part of dog training. With these 11 reinforcers, you can keep your dog happy in daily training and motivate him for more exciting training sessions.

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