Although it may seem like your dog just wants to be tossed treats and rewards all the time, the truth is, they enjoy those treats even more when they’ve had to do something to earn them. In general, dogs are happy, playful pets and they love attention, praise, and of course, yummy treats.
Have you ever noticed that your dog gets really excited when you praise them after they obey a command? The positive reward they have received for listening to you makes that praise even more exciting for them. It also makes them much more likely to do it again, the next time you ask…and much faster too.
This trait is popular among all dogs, small breeds, medium breeds and the large breeds too. It’s not breed specific or size specific. There have even been tests done that substantiate this claim. It shouldn’t be all that surprising really, considering these furry, four-legged friends love nothing more than to please their owners.
When you give your dog the chance to earn their treats, you are exercising their brains, which is terrific for their health as well. Although some may see it as bribery, using treats that dogs love to teach them desirable behaviors is the fastest way to teach them something. They want that reward, so they will go through the required steps to get it, as fast as they can. It certainly doesn’t take them long to connect doing the desired action to get their reward.
If you don’t like the idea of giving your dog food treats all the time, then you can teach them to equate other forms of rewards with a job well done also. Taking them to the dog park, playing with his favorite toy, and even being allowed to sit with you, (or ON you) while you watch TV can also be taught to be part of the coveted rewards that they seek for doing something expected of them.
Small breed dogs can be real trick lovers, but don’t limit the rewards, whether food related or life related, to just tricks. Getting them to sit for their dinner, walk calmly on the leash, use the bathroom outdoors, and other desirable behaviors all pet owners want, can be things you require them to do to get rewarded. Pair it with a lot of verbal praise and petting and you’ll reinforce the positive behavior.
This same principle applies to the medium dog breeds and large dog breeds as well. No dog, regardless of breed or size, is above wanting to be rewarded for good behavior, or performing a trick for your enjoyment. Once in awhile giving them a treat “just because” is fine. For the most part, though, make your pet do something to earn that treat or reward, even if it is as simple as sitting and lying down on command and waiting patiently for their reward. (Something that isn’t always easy for a dog to do) They will be happier to obey and their minds will not become stagnant and bored.