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Thread: Article: Do dogs prefer praise or food?

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    Article: Do dogs prefer praise or food?

    Do dogs most desire food or praise? - Futurity

    What do you think your dog would do?

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    Senior Member Jane's Avatar
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    Food I think.
    Stay Cool

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    My Dog goes by the motto "Will eat for food". He loves attention and his tail goes nuts when I praise him. But when it comes to food, he'll knock his own mother over. Can't blame him, I love compliments, and I love FOOD more. Not every training command is followed with a food reward. I mix it up with praise and food.
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    My older dog is motivated by food and I use food rewards in training. My younger dog will choose a ball or a tug toy over food. That actually comes in really handy in agility where I need to reward him away from me so I throw toys at him if he does an obstacle or sequence correctly.

    Praise alone?? They have to work for praise alone when they are showing in agility or obedience because you cannot have food or toys on you in the ring. But, when we are done working and leave the ring...I pay them heavily with their preferred reward. I don't expect a dog to work for just praise alone for all training. I don't work for just a pat on the back and a "great job." I want to get paid for my work....dogs aren't much different from that.

    I do tell my students that if you work for kudos/praise or nothing in return, that's called volunteering. Volunteering happens because someone loves what they are doing and don't expect to get paid. If you want a dog that will work for praise or no reward...they need to LOVE the work and that responsibility is on the owner/trainer/handler to build that love of the work in the dog. The work itself must be rewarding for the dog for them to love it enough to work with praise alone. Both my dogs will volunteer in agility and Lars will volunteer in obedience...but I still pay them for their efforts at the end.
    URO2 UCD UCH Lars UD GN RAE NJP NAP NFP C-CD OCC OJC TG-E EAC O-WV-E S-TN-E APDT RL2 AOE-L1, L2 HIC TT CGC TDI
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    Solid MrsBoatsRI!

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    interesting factors

    The thing to think about is wherever this experiment is is NOT a home environment and if a dog is comfortable in this place would play a part in the dog's reaction. So I wonder if protective instincts come into play with some dogs. I don't think it's cut and dry. I think food is a high motivating factor for my dogs, but comfort is as well. We used to have a female Rottie we adopoted at 7 y.o. who loved her food beyond anything, but when I would go out to feed the horse she would leave her food to follow me and make sure I was OK (she hadn't been raised around horses and didn't trust him.) Honestly, I bet most (or all) of our Rottie dogs would protect (and come check on us) before food and it would be that factor and not praise that would draw them to us... but that's just my opinion.

    That is the thing about experiments is that they don't always measure exactly what they set out to do.... my humble opinion.
    Last edited by Steph King; 08-18-2016 at 07:41 PM.

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    Admittedly, I did not read the article...I was just answering the question if my dogs prefer food or praise.
    URO2 UCD UCH Lars UD GN RAE NJP NAP NFP C-CD OCC OJC TG-E EAC O-WV-E S-TN-E APDT RL2 AOE-L1, L2 HIC TT CGC TDI
    Multi High in Obedience Trial Winner; American Rottweiler Club Top 10: Agility, Rally, Obedience

    Ocean RE OJP OAP XFP PD SPS APJ APG APK SPR NJC TN-O APDT RL1 AOE-L1 HIC CGC
    American Rottweiler Club Top 10: Agility & Rally

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    My male Dozer couldn't care less about treats. He rarely takes one when offered and usually spits those out. He will sometimes take them somewhere else set them down, sniff and lick them, them maybe eat them. Our female Sadie loves treats and her bad habit is that she will swallow them whole. Normally when they get treats at the vet, or the bank, or from relatives that visit. She will just stick close to Dozer and when he spits out his treat she dives under him and grabs it for herself.

    When Dozer follows a command he wants a "Good boy" and a scratch behind the ears more than any treat. The girl will do things for treats but she is a spoiled princess and never listens to us anyway. Luckily she is good natured, and naturally calm and behaved.
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    I rarely use food rewards. Even if the dog is very food motivated. I'm old fashioned in my dogs get corrections and praise. My correction method is controversial only because almost all are marketed as a tool to correct bad unwanted behavior. But Fact is we are not dogs and its near impossible to be like a dog when training and handling. I use "shock" collars with my dogs. The misconception is the shock is a pain correction tool. A BIG NO! A dogs neck is very robust, a mother can carry a pup by the scruff of the neck. A dogs skin has very little in the way of nerves. People put animal pain in human terms. No they have a completely different pain system then we do. A bite that would cause stiches on us, does nothing to a dog! Fur and skin makes a nip far less harmful for a dog VS a human. Shock collars can be adjusted on how high the shock is delivered. I set mine by shocking myself. The palm of the human hand is very sensitive. If I can feel the shock, its too high. To train the dog that a shock is a correction, I do set the shock a little higher. At a level that's about the same as when we build up a static charge in our bodies and touch metal. Does that hurt? No its more surprising. My collar also has a vibrate mode. The vibration is just like a cell phone set on vibrate ring. Does that hurt? No not at all! 99% of the time my dogs get a vibrate warning. The shock that I can't feel is only used when 100% necessary. Like my neighbors have cattle and horses, if my dog messes with other animals, farmers livestock, etc. It can be a bad situation. A horse could kick my dog. So if my dog is inappropriate with life stock. He gets a vibrate and No. More then one verbal command gets a little shock.

    My dogs have 100% off leash recall. They are called once! My dog gets off track during a walk. Vibrate and heal. If he isn't healing within a few seconds, he can get a shock. I call this system my parent like count when a parent wants a kid to behave. My dogs 99% correct themselves before I get to three. My dog doesn't get distracted by people, other animals and even cars.

    Fact is a 8 week old puppy understands dog, the mother gets somewhat physical with them. Just on vibrate an 8week old puppy catches on much faster when you add physical ie. vibration and praise. Versus trying to do it verbally and with food.

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    Oh shock collars are highly recommended for deaf dogs. Because there is zero pain involved when used a handling tool. The reason most trainers don't train with them, it makes dog training too easy!

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