A dog that wants to work for you is so much easier to train and is much nicer to work with than one you are constantly forcing. There are various ways of rewarding your dog. Whichever way you use and you can use all of them, remember this is a reward for a job well done, it is not a 'bribe'. If you go to work you would soon think twice about doing your job if no-one paid you. It is the same for your dog.
This is the most common form of reward. For us we use money which has a range of values. If you were asked to cut someones lawn and were offered one pound for doing it you would probably not even give it any consideration, if you were offered fifty pounds you would be more inclined to take on the job. It is the same with your dog, is the reward on offer worth the effort needed to earn it? All dogs are different, something one dog would kill for another would turn their nose up at.
Generally low value treats are dry biscuits, packet treats, some of their everyday food (why work for something you are about to get a bowlful of?). High value treats are cheese, ham, cooked meat, sausages, baked liver.
Low value treats can be used for rewarding a dog that 'knows what it is doing' eg. sit. High value rewards are used when your dog does something exceptional such as coming away from another dog when called or performing an action you have spent ages trying to teach them. You then keep feeding them several rewards one after the other. Your dog has just won the Jackpot!
You will need a toy that has a handle, eg. a ball on a rope, is big enough so it will not choke your dog but small enough for you to carry around in your pocket. This is your toy and your dog only gets to play with it when you are pleased with them. This will keep the toy special, mot like their other toys that they have access to all the time.
To use a toy as a reward you have to have enough control over your dog that he plays when told to and stops on command.
Offer the toy to your dog and excitedly say 'get it' your dog should grab hold of it and you can then have a tuggy game. Without letting go of your end let the toy go slack in the dogs mouth and give your let go command, leave, drop, enough etc. Do not try to pull the toy out of your dogs mouth as this just turns it into a game. When the dog lets go do not snatch the toy away, leave it dangling in front of your dog and if he goes to take it tell him 'no', holding his collar if necessary. Then say 'get it' and the dog can grab the toy again. The reward for giving up the toy is to get it back. At first do not let go of your end of the toy or throw it, you have to be in control.
Now if your dog works well you can reward with a game, this has the advantage of being something you can share between you and it lasts a lot longer than a treat.
This should speak for itself. Dogs love being told how clever they are (they have egos too). Make sure you use the right tone of voice, you have to mean it. If you stroke them don't go overboard, slow gentle strokes are best other wise you will end up with your dog leaping around, especially if he has a lively nature.
If you can get your dog's attention by asking him to look at you then you will get a much better response to commands.
Now begin to teach your dog to look at you when there are distractions
The level of distraction can be gradually increased as your dog understands more of what is wanted of him.
These steps should not be rushed. Do not move to the next step if your dog is not succeeding at a lower level.
Touch is a way of getting your dog to follow an empty hand. This is particularly useful when teaching heelwork (walking beside you).
Most methods of getting your dog to walk with you has you holding a treat to the dogs nose while you walk along saying 'Heel'. Although we think this is teaching to walk beside us what the dog is learning is that 'Heel' means follow the food, when we get rid of the food the dog loses interest.