Myth: My dog isn't food motivated, so I can't use positive reinforcement.

Reality

Any animal that needs to eat to live is food motivated, although the level of motivation may change depending on the situation. There are also many other options available for positive reinforcement!

Why won’t my dog take food in training?

Even though all dogs are food motivated, this motivation increases and decreases throughout the day based on when they last ate, and may not be enough to outweigh their interest in some distractions. You can make food a more useful part of your training by using your dog’s meals to reward them, training when they are hungry, and getting more distance from their distractions.

What can we use to reward our dogs?

Anything that our dogs are willing to work to get can be used as positive reinforcement. This can be anything from food, to play, to affection, to a walk, to chasing rabbits, and beyond! Consider making a list of all the things your dog enjoys most and ranking it in order of what they would put the most effort into getting. Think about how that list might change in different situations.

All dogs learn differently and need different training methods.

Reality

While it’s true that dogs differ in their natural skills and preferences, all organisms share one important thing: they learn (change their behaviour) in two basic ways.

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My dog isn't food motivated, so I can't use positive reinforcement.

Reality

Any animal that needs to eat to live is food motivated, although the level of motivation may change depending on the situation. There are also many other options available for positive reinforcement!

Learn more >