During training, your dog may not always be as precise as you would like. At these times, it is important to recognize the cause of his imperfection. Is he trying hard to do what you want, or is he actually “hardly trying?”
Lack of effort should never be rewarded. In most instances, true effort, even if precision is lacking, should be rewarded. Learn to recognize, reinforce, and reward “effort”. This will give your dog the confidence and the desire to continue working with you as your training sessions become more complex and difficult.
ALWAYS reward your dog’s EFFORT, even if precision is lacking. With EFFORT you will go FAR!
If your dog is LACKING in EFFORT, take some time and check the way you spend your time with your dog.
Are you adding to behavioral or training problems?
- Do you let your dog bolt out of doors?
- Pull on the leash?
- Leave you to go say hi, or sniff without permission?
- Steal food from your tables or counter tops?
How is the rapport between you and your dog?
- Does your dog LOVE to play with you?
- Does your dog accept all types of reward or play?
- Is your dog always ready to train and show?
Does your dog give you 100% effort when training?
- When your dog is incorrect, does he continue to give effort?
- When doing a skill does your dog pay 100% attention to you and stay engaged?
Will your dog engage with you regardless of the distractions?
- Will your dog play or engage with you at shows?
- New locations?
- While other dogs are playing, training, etc.?
Now is the time to analyze if you have any areas that can use improvement.
One thought on “Reward EFFORT!”
As much as possible, I train without reward cookies, and if I have any, I won’t let Hannah, my Sheltie see me put them in my pocket. Then, and only then, do I look for HONEST effort, and not food-driven effort.
I keep caches of cookies around my living room so I don’t have to have any cookies in my pocket. When I train Hannah, I want her to not know for sure if I have any cookies “on me” so I know if she is working for me or cookies she thinks I have or not.