Rewards make up the foundation of positive reinforcement dog training. Though there are many other training methods out there, I feel that positive training is one of the most effective and humane. Best of all, it's fun and simple. Think about it: if given a choice, would you rather get rewarded when you do a good job, or be chided and intimidated into performing a task? I think it's safe to say that most people would opt for the former. Of course, dogs are not human, but they do experience many of the same emotions that we do. Bottom line: we all know that any dog would pick the reward.
As you train your dog positively, there are many rewards that you can use. Food is most often used as a reward because so many dogs are highly food-motivated. On the other hand, what about those dogs that are NOT food-motivated? I have encountered many dog owners who feel that training is impossible because their dog could care less about food (yes, such dogs do exist). The good news is that there are other ways to reward these dogs. It's all a matter of determining what your dog values. Check out this list of the best ways to reward your dog. Use it as a guide to help you train your dog the positive way.
Photo © Jenna Stregowski