Variable Rewards

A very important concept in training is the variable reward.  Dogs often get bored with our rewards, especially when we use the same rewards over and over again.  Variable rewards keep your dog motivated to train, because he never knows what kind of response he is going to get.

A great illustration of variable reward is seen in the comparison of a soda machine and slot machine.  If you use the same rewards constantly, you are about as exciting as a soda machine.  Soda machines are not exciting.  You know exactly what to expect, so you only go to one when you want what it has to offer. However when you vary your rewards you are way more exciting. Variable reward is what makes slot machines so addicting to many people; you never know what you’re going to get or how much.

To use variable rewards with your dog, switch up the rewards and how much you reward.  You can vary your rewards by using different types of food and different types of toys.  Switching between different toys like tugging verses fetching is great because they are different actions.  For more variety, reward your dog with different scents (like buffalo rabbit, or sheep) and different textures (like nylon, fleece, or fur).   You can find a large variety of toys at our website:

Your dog will tell you what he finds the most exciting.  When you use variable rewards, your dog will not know what he is going to get and will be more focused on you during training.

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