Each and every day a dog impresses me with some aspect of their intelligence.
One particular skill that I think they’re very good at is their ability to count the number of treats they’ve been given for a particular task – or the lack of them 😉
You see dogs aren’t so different to us. They will quickly see the point in doing something based on the outcome.
You turn up for work and do say an 8 hour day, 40 hour week, and for that effort you get paid a set amount. Don’t assume your dog sees the world any differently from you 😉
If you want your dog to do more of something make sure you pay them well for doing so. A good example in puppyhood is a puppy learning how to ‘Lie Down’ on cue.
It’s generally fairly easy to get puppies to pop into a ‘Sit’ position – simply by using a treat and luring them into position by raising their nose up. Gravity tends to take over and voila! Bottom hits the deck!
Because it’s fairly easy puppies tend to get rewarded a LOT for sitting (as we find it rewarding when they do it as it enhances our dog training egos 😉 ) and they start to anticipate the best way to get you to release that Bonio in your hand is to pop their bottom on the floor. I’m fairly sure most pups believe that they’re training us in the early days 😉
But as getting them to lie down is harder for us we don’t tend to do it so much, and when people do they tend to be a bit frugal with their rewards. So puppy does the maths; you get LOTS of treats for sitting, and only a few for lying down. Hmm, wonder what puppy is going to offer you more regularly? 😉
So when you’re teaching something new pay well with awesome treats or exciting toys – each and every time your puppy (or adult dog for those with rescues!) does something you like – and watch them do the maths. Never fails to make me smile 🙂