Actual German Breeder and Trainer of German Shepherds and Rottweilers for more than 30 years!

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Do I always have to reward my dog

Do I always have to reward my dog in Training?

This question about when to reward your dog is a very common concern. Just as much as dog owners/ trainers wonder when to stop rewarding the dog.
Most common argument against food motivated training is also the concern that
the dog is not responding in absence of the food reward. Therefor arguing that it does not work!
So let’s shine some light on the argument.
Every correct behavior in teaching phase has to be rewarded. That is called CONTINUOUS SCHEDULE of reinforcement. It is comparable to the COKE Machine. Now that being said, the behavior on this machine is to “put the money in”. The reward will be to “get the soda out”!
We all know that once we did the behavior of putting the money in and the soda does not come out ( no reward) the behavior will seize! You will call the number on the machine, you might kick it, or just walk away. Be aware that the behavior did not get unlearned or erased, you are momentarily not doing it anymore, as the reward was not provided.
This is the phase of training that most owners / Trainers might get stuck at!
Now lets look at the slot machine:
The reward is not always coming- and it is random in occurrence and quantity! Look at the casino! The players do the behavior over and over, and they are on a very random schedule of reinforcement (money coming out)! The behavior of putting money in and hitting the button/ pulling the handle is very strong.
I will give you a very strong example of totally seizing the reward in human behavior:
Since you had this very same job for a decade, you are still working for the same company, we can easily assume that you are doing very well doing it, thus you know exactly what to do…you are the super performer!
That being said, you get notified, that for the reason above, the company will not pay you anymore after next Friday!
Are you still going to perform your job?
Now imagine that you are on a random schedule. You never know when and how much you will going to receive. If your company has a clever payroll department, you will work like crazy…