Treats for life?
2 min read
Yep, you will be giving treats for the rest of your dog’s life.
The question is often raised by someone new to using food reinforcement when living with dogs or training them for lifeskills or any other program. This is the same as a child who may ask – “do I have to keep saying thank you every time?”
The whole collective of rewards, or reinforcers, serves a purpose of ensuring that the tasks just completed keep getting completed. The task may tolerate a lapse of memory, but you will soon find that door smacked in your face if you stop acknowledging the courtesy offered to you by a stranger, friend or acquaintance.
The rewards for the dog are the same as good manners between people. Good manners are the oil that keeps the societies moving together and avoid a grinding of gears. It is part of living as a community. I am sure we have all experienced that “lack of grease” when the expected manners are absent.
A waiter may well get paid for doing their tasks, and you are paying for this service in the cost of your meal. Thanking the waiter, simply with eye contact and acknowledgement can make all the difference to their thoughtfulness and consideration of your needs as they go about their paid tasks.
A treat, reward, touch of affection will be appreciated by your dog, that although they do get an evening meal, the acknowledgement that their behaviour makes your day to day life easier.
Rewards are paying for a future together, not just for now.