Saturday, March 30, 2013

Your Dog's Favorite Rewards

What’s your dog’s favorite reward?  Have you ever tried to figure it out by letting the dog choose?  It’s rather fun, and I highly recommend it!  It was raining, windy and too cold kind of a day a few weeks ago......It's a I don’t want to clean the house

kind of game!  

Here’s what I did, your results may vary!! 

 I started with toys, and I did the same set up with both Seeker and Nettle, working them individually of course.  I asked the dog to sit, I showed them each toy and put presented them in a pile about 10’ ahead of them.  I just gave them a release word, and let them do whatever they wanted.  I knew they’d both go to the pile of toys, so that wasn’t a concern.  I was just curious to see which one they would choose.

The toy pile consisted of: a bumper, a jolly ball on a rope, a rabbit skin, a soft plush squeaky toy, another soft with crinkle fabric inside. 

Then I put them out in a line in front of the dog, and released. 

Did they get the same toy?  Or choose a different one?  I gave each dog two attempts at each pile. 

Food was a bit more challenging as I wasn’t sure how to approach it.  I didn’t want to put it in a pile, as I wouldn’t be able to tell what they ate first.  So, I put them about 3’ apart on a lid, in a row and about 5’ in front of the dog.  I also did this ‘test’ right after they ate their evening meal, hoping it would result in them being a bit more thoughtful, and not such pigs.    


I then mixed up the order of the food placement, to see if they would go to the same plate, or actually choose a different one. 

I did each of these twice, and yes….I let them eat all the food each time.  Life’s short!  (‘;

I used a few pieces of cooked beef, a small pile of ‘candy’ (dog kibble), a spoon full of raw ground turkey, and a few chucks of cheese. 

Seeker’s Results –

Toys in a circle –
Rabbit skin
Crinkle Toy
Soft Toy
Jolly ball - #1 - He LOVES the Jolly ball stuff!

Food - Couldn't tell, he started in the same place, at plate #2 each time and went left, then back to the other 3.  He didn't take the time to look for anything 'special'. 

Nettle’s Results –

Toys in a circle –

Rabbit skin - #1 - No doubt!!
Crinkle Toy
Soft Toy
Jolly ball

Food - the same as Seeker, she didn't have a clear preference based on this set up.  She did get a 3rd try however, as she ate her treats and ran back to set up on her own.  It was too cute not to reward.  G

Have fun!! 


  1. I tried a similar test with my dogs awhile ago - favourite toy was one from puppyhood that they hadn't seen for awhile. Add that to your mix.

  2. I did this last summer with Phoenix. I had a ball, a couple of tugs, a plushie and even a treat bag with food in it, cinched shut. He was all about the ball 100% of the time - even when I switched out and used different kinds of balls. He even ignored the food, which I thought was pretty amazing because he's such a chowhound.

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