3 Reward-Based Training Methods for Dogs

Two German Shepherds walking on a trail in the woods. The one on the left is carrying a big stick in his mouth.
A dog is a dog’s best friend

Our dogs are our companions. Given that, we must create and apply varying efforts to improve bonds with them. This is achievable through various dog training methods. Training does promote not only discipline but also builds confidence and positive mental stimulations for our pets.

Reward-based training, in particular, uses the concept of positive reinforcement to achieve favorable behaviors through the use of conditioning stimuli, which are rewards. This positive training method allows them to undergo conditioning and discipline without the use of force and coercion commonly associated with training. 

If you are hunting for what can best work for your furry friend, here are some reward-based training methods you can try.

1. Treats

The use of treats is a common reward-based training you can apply to your dogs. This dog training uses treats or food rewards as reinforcement to achieve ideal responses and behavior. Moreover, this training also associates with clicker training, wherein if they hear a click sound, they immediately relate it to the desired behavior like a “sit” or “stay.” Simply put, they are trained that a repeated desirable behavior can equate to special treats.

When choosing the right treats for your dogs during the training, it is important you prepare healthy ones. You can prepare healthy treat options like cooked lean meats, fresh vegetables, and fruit slices, or you can go with the usual regular dry foods and treats your dog mostly enjoys. Before buying dog treat products from wherever you are, check the ingredients to ensure it’s safe for your dog.

If you are around the U.S., dog treat shops are common wherever you are in the country. With over 96 million Americans owning dogs in their household, there are 17,800 recorded pet shops in America to supply dog needs. 

Similarly, in Australia, two-thirds of Australian households are pet owners. Given the demand, more than 2,000 pet shops and retailers around the country offer great and healthy pet products like Vitapet reward treats for dogs. 

These treats come in different sizes and flavors that use all-natural ingredients with no preservatives, which are highly available in pet shops and supermarkets throughout Australia.

2. Play Time

One fun way to initiate a reward-based training method is by providing a game and playtime reward for your dog pets. Like food, games can also act as positive reinforcement for your dogs during training. If they do and show desirable behavior, you can then initiate a game they will enjoy. Some enjoyable games you can play with your dog once they follow a command include the following:

  • Fetch. There is no doubt that fetch games can make your dogs excited. Commands like “hold” or “wait” are some you can associate with this gameplay. Once you throw the frisbee or ball, your dog is expected to run after it. Once they return, you can give them a nice pet or some good treats. Let them wait or ask for a “sit” command before throwing the toy again to fetch.
  • Tug of War. Tug of war is a classic dog game. In this game, you don’t need much space to play, as you can freely do it in or outdoors. The command you use in this game is “leave it,” so your dog can give or put down the toy or use the “lie down” command before starting the game again. 

But before playing this game, check if your dog’s teeth can handle the pulling. If they are still puppies, do it gently or choose another safe game for their vulnerable teeth and gums.

Some other things you can also try as a reward include giving your dog time to play with other dogs. There are available dog parks you can visit and try. Training commands like “wait” or “sit” can be used before letting them enjoy the moment with other pet dogs. Just make sure that your dog is completely immunized to avoid acquiring any dog or human illnesses outside.

3. Praises and Attention

Aside from good treats and fun games, dogs also love it when you show them appreciation and attention. Praises and attention are also commonly used in a reward-based training method. Dogs show more willingness to show good traits and desirable behaviors if training is done with great attention, either with a simple petting or word of praise like “good girl/boy,” “good job,” “nice work,” and many others.

All you have to do is do a command, and once done properly, you give them praise and spend a little snuggle time before giving the command again.


Effective dog training methods are necessary to ensure discipline, proper mental stimulation, and connection. Dog training requires enough time and attention to succeed. Thus, you must explore different methods and ways to see what can effectively work for your dog. Although the training process can be initially challenging, with enough knowledge and preparation of how to do it right, things can surely be easier than expected in no time.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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