Just Rewards 

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There is a saying among PR dog trainers... “Nothing in Life is Free.” Also called “Say Please” or “Mother May I?” Along with using treats, toys and praise to train our dogs, we continue reinforcing good behavior by using real life rewards (i.e. going for a walk, playing frisbee, running in the park). Before he runs to the back yard to play, your dog should sit. Before he jumps in the car, ask him to sit. Before you put down his meals... yup, you guessed it!

For everything you do for your dog throughout the day consider asking for something in return. The dog is not entitled to things he wants, he must earn them.

Do you have a dog that brings her toy over and drops it in your lap to initiate play? Or bumps your hand to pet her? Cute as this may be, it’s your dog saying “Yo, pet me!” or “toss my frisbee for me!” ...and you dutifully comply. Try a subtle change in behavior (yours) by asking your dog to sit, then pet her or pick up her toy and initiate play. This subtle change can make a big difference in your dog’s overall behavior.

If you are in training with your dog, you can add new behaviors as she learns them. “Down” “come” “stay” for example, also work for earning real life rewards. You can even teach a few tricks like “twirl” “curtsey” and “high five.” And the best part? Your dog will enjoy that walk, meal, ride, play, etc. all the more for having earned it. n

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