Do Dogs Prefer Food or Praise as a Reward?

In an attempt to further understand the human-animal bond, researchers investigated whether or not dogs prefer praise or food from their owners. Surprisingly most of the dogs preferred praise or praise and food equally. Two of the dogs were chow-hounds and preferred food.

While 13 subjects are not a fair sampling, especially when one considers the personality differences in breeds and even within the same breed, the study does shed some possibilities for consideration.

Most trainers, behavior consultants and handlers of working or sport dogs can tell you about individual dogs who are not food motivated. The people who try to work with these dogs have to find another way to motivate them. Fortunately, most dogs will work for both praise and food, making it easier to motivate them in training situations.

Food is still a great way to train a dog, especially when coupled with clicker training. But for those dogs who are not food motivated, a pat on the head or verbal praise is just as good. When using food, it is always best to wean the dog off of the food once he has learned the exercise and save the special treat for new exercises.

Studies such as this one are great because they open minds and possibilities for future studies. The research team in this case want to explore how dogs process and understand human language.

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160816120656.htm

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Bab’s — Praise Motivated

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Riley — Food Motivated and laughing about it!

K9 Investigation Errors: A Manual for Avoiding Mistakes

K9 Investigation Errors: A Manual for Avoiding Mistakes, by Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak, Brush Education, Inc.; 256 pgs.; ISBN: 978-1-55059-672-4, $44.95

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How can you make a good book better? Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak who wrote K9 Fraud, have accomplished that with their updated book, K9 Investigation Errors. They cover many important points in handling dogs that are common mistakes. For example, they explain how dogs can read human gestures, even the slightest ones (the Clever Hans Effect) which can cause a false response from a dog. They review some famous cases in the United States and show how the handler or poor training misled authorities, sometimes resulting in the arrest of the wrong person.

What I especially liked was their comments that dog handlers who claim fantastic results with their dogs (typically false) influence authorities who believe them and then think that properly trained dogs who cannot perform to that level are not as good, when in fact the properly trained and handled dogs are correct.

Another interesting point that they bring out in their book is what they call failure scents. This is when a dog associates a scent with failure and by association can lead to the dog’s poor performance. This is the same as people will often associate a benign event, song, scent or even food with a bad experience and react to the memory that it triggers.

There is so much information in this book that I strongly recommend handlers of all disciplines read this book and evaluate how they can improve their dogs and their handling skills.

The book is a high quality book, as is typical of Brush Education Publications, with quality binding, pages and soft cover. It is well edited with no typo’s or other common mistakes that authors tend to make when writing. It is always a pleasure to review a Brush Education book.

The chapters are:

Scent-Identification Lineups

The Dutch Training Method for Scent Identification

Dogs’ Responsiveness to Human Gestures

Tracking Dogs in Crime Investigations

Scent Research and Tracking Experiments

Errors in Mantrailing

Human Odor and Dogs’ Scent Perception

Scent Problems and Training Problems

Preventing Investigation Errors

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my new blog site!

ID-100373827Check back often (or subscribe via the button on the right) for posts to help pet owners with health, safety and training information; and to share information on dog training, behavior, and search and rescue. Additionally, I look forward to sharing:

  • Behind-the-scenes stories and excerpts from my published books
  • Safety and health tips focused on cats, dogs and parrots
  • Photos and stories about dogs I have trained through the years

Some of the questions I am asked most often revolve around dog training. Some basic tips include:

ID-10041702Remember, dogs do not speak English, therefore you must SHOW your dog what you want. Your actions speak louder than your words. All of your body language speaks to your dog. Therefore, your ATTITUDE, FACIAL EXPRESSION AND TONE OF VOICE communicate to your dog. You cannot try and tell your dog that he is not doing the right thing while you are hiding a laugh because you really think your dog’s behavior is cute or funny. Your dog will laugh right along with you. You cannot ask your dog to obey you if you hesitate in your movements. Your dog will not believe that you are the leader. On the other hand, you cannot bully your dog or physically punish him and expect your dog to respect and trust you. A good working relationship with your dog is built on trust and leadership. This is communicated to your dog by giving commands in a tone of voice that says, “I expect you to do this, no discussion.” Then move in a steady, yet gentle way to convey leadership.

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Never re-command your dog. If your dog knows what the word means, re-commanding him just teaches your dog that a) he does not have to listen to you; b)he can do it when he wants and c)you are not the leader. For every command there should be an action. Either you coax the dog into doing what you want or the dog does it. If your dog does not know the “sit” command, and you tell your dog, “Sit . . . Sit . . . SIT!”, then make the dog sit on the third sit, your dog will learn not to sit until the third command. He will think that the command is “sitsitsit.”

Most people repeat commands to their dog’s because they are being polite (according to human standards) and assume that the dog did not hear the first or second time. I can assure you that if your dog does not respond the fist time, and does not acknowledge you, he DOES HEAR you. He is just IGNORING you. Therefore, politeness to a dog translates into “My owner is wimpy, wimpy, wimpy! Why should I listen?”

So, speak clearly and in a direct manner to your dog. For every command expect or initiate an action. Do not repeat commands. Do not hesitate when you move. Show your dog that you are a leader, not a follower.