Finding the right reward for training your dog

Finding the right reward for your furry friend.

8th January 2024

Training your dog can be a wonder-fur-l way to bond with them. But, before embarking on training your dog at home, it’s important to find the right reward for your canine companion. 

Finding a reward that motivates your dog will inspire them to try their best while you’re training them, which can help make the process smoother for both of you. We’re here to help you get the best behaviour from your pooch, by choosing the paw-fect reward(s) for them!  

Top tip: ‘Mixing it up’ from time to time by using different rewards can make training even more effective. Plus, using a variety of rewards can help to keep your dog’s attention for longer, as they’ll be extra excited to receive rewards in random order!  

Treats 

For many dogs, teeny tiny pieces of their favourite food will work best.  

Each canine is unique, so, your mischief maker might prefer small amounts of specific dog treats (like gravy bones), whereas others may turn their nose up at ready-made treats.  

You could also use some of your dog’s daily dry food ration as a reward. 

While it may take some trial-and-error to find the ideal reward for your canine companion, here are some of the top treats we’ve found most effective: 

  • Plain, boiled chicken breast.
  • Raw carrot batons.
  • Low fat, unflavoured, Cheddar cheese. 

Alternatively, if you enjoy making your own dog treats, we have a selection of homemade pooch-friendly pumpkin recipes you could try! 

It’s worth noting, though, that increasing your pet’s treat ration might have an impact on their overall calorie intake. So, we’d suggest switching their reward to toys or play sometimes, to prevent unhealthy weight gain. 

If you’re unsure about suitable treats (or how many treats) to give your dog, have a chat with your vet – or the vet experts over at Joii Pet Care

Toys 

Using their favourite toy can be great motivation for your dog while training them! 

Whether your pooch prefers playing fetch or tug-of-war, rewarding them with a ball or tug toy can be extremely effective when praising them for doing something right.  

When choosing a dog toy for training purposes, it should be: 

  • Non-toxic.
  • Durable and puncture proof.
  • Suitable for your dog’s size.
  • Easy for you to carry.
  • Free from choking hazards (e.g. string).

While it may be irritating to our ears after a while, many of our mutts love squeaky toys as rewards, too! 

Play 

Lots of pet parents combine toys with play when rewarding their dog for desired behaviour. Dogs who adore being active are likely to appreciate the op-paw-tunity to play as part of their reward.  

Not only does using play as a reward make training far more fun, it also helps to build a better bond between you and your pooch. 

Don’t forget to give them plenty of praise! 

Whichever form of reward works best for your dog, it’s vital to use positive reinforcement as well.  

Verbal praise tends to be an excellent cue to let your pet know they’ve followed your instructions properly. By using a cheerful tone to reward them, you’re helping your best fur-iend associate your positive reaction with their correct behaviour. 

Physical praise is a fantastic reward, too! Lots of cuddles and attention can work wonders when rewarding your dog for doing something well. 

Always praise your dog for listening to you and trying their best to follow your instructions – you can visit our article about positive reinforcement to learn more.