There are 153 pieces of kibble in one cup of dog food. Yes, I counted.
Most large dogs will get fed 2 cups in the morning and 2 cups in the evening. Let’s do the math, 153 x 4 is 612 pieces of kibble.
And why is this important?
Because kibble is currency! At home, where there are no other competing distractions this kibble can be used for payment for our dog sitting when we ask them to. Payment for waiting nicely at the door. Payment for calm behavior throughout the day. Kibble to us may not seem like much but to your dog it is one of the most valuable resources we have. Consider kibble being your dog’s base pay for learning and doing a good job.
When we start increasing the difficulty of the behavior such as increasing distance, distractions or duration to a “job” you will want to increase your dog’s base pay of kibble to cheese or even hot dogs. This is especially important if you want your dog to learn how to do the job well. Just as we have different jobs and different pay the same is true for our dogs. For your dog to succeed you need to find the right salary level that works for your dog. Terms of salary can be cheese, hot dogs, tennis ball or even a tug toy. The salary is determined by your dog. Just because you think it is good salary does not necessarily mean your dog will think it is.
You may want to offer your dog “bonus pay” if he has been doing a behavior reliably on a regular basis. Just like us, bonus pay keeps us motivated to continue to do a good job. Bonus pay is an unexpected high value item or food and holds great value for your dog to continue to do the behavior reliably.
So, go ahead and reward your dog for all the good behaviors he is doing. Keep in mind the more a behavior is reinforced good or bad the more likely it will happen.
Reinforce all good behaviors.