It's a simple concept that most of us grew up hearing, if you eat your vegetables you get to have dessert.
Why is it so effective and how does it relate to dog training?
Just imagine the best dessert in the entire world... drooling yet?
Now what if I told you that in order to eat it, you needed to eat your green beans, or wash the dishes?
Instead of forcing you to wash the dishes or eat your veggies, I can motivate you to do it without force at all.
When you give your dog the freedom of choice, they learn to make the right decisions on their own rather than just going through the motions.
A great example of how this has worked with Tucker and Oakley is by letting them chase chipmunks as a reward for coming to me.
When I'm hiking with my dogs off-leash, we're bound to run into critters. I've taught my dogs that if they check in with me first, I will let them go chase the critter *most of the time.
I taught them this by keeping them on a long-line and then asking them to look at me and/or come to me. If they did what I asked, they get a high value treat for coming and then get released with "Okay go get it!" to go run after it.
If they do not check in or come to me when I call them, I use the leash to "reel" them in, reward them when they finally reach me and we will then practice leave it exercises around the distraction until they are able to focus easily. Doing this teaches them that coming to me and away from the distraction is more rewarding then going after the distraction and ignoring me.
If trying this at home, it's important to keep your dog on a long-line until you have mastered this skill.
*When teaching your dog to come away from a distraction, such as come to me instead of chasing a chipmunk, it's extremely important to not ALWAYS let your dog go get the reward of chasing the critter after coming to you. Otherwise they will anticipate getting to chase it every single time and the middle man (coming to you) will lose its value.
This is a complicated topic, but once you understand it you an apply it to all of your dog training!
If you have questions, leave a comment, facebook message, email, or contact us any other way! We'd be more than happy to answer your questions.