A reward can be anything your dog enjoys; treats, toys, cuddles (not all dogs like cuddles!)
Food rewards alter brain chemistry:
– when using food treats, the brain releases dopamine which is a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in reward-driven learning as it is a feel-good chemical. This is especially rewarding for them and it therefore reinforces the behaviour, making it more likely to be repeated.
If a dog is enjoying the consequences of their behaviour (getting a reward for doing a sit), they are more likely to offer it again. Once your dog is responding or carrying out a skill reliably, you can begin delivering rewards more intermittently. Intermittent reinforcement can make a dog respond better and more reliably . This is due to it being like a slot machine in a casino – you never know when the reward is coming so you try again in case it does.