Food Builds Relationships
We have already established that food is a wonderful relationship builder. We use it daily by getting together with friends for dinner and conversation. Food is also used to celebrate holidays and birthdays. We use food to celebrate a good day or even to get over a bad day.
Now that we know food is powerful for relationships, we can start using it to build a relationship with our dogs. How we deliver the food is important. Slow delivery helps to lower arousal levels. Speeding up delivery or playing with the food helps to raise arousal. Here are some examples:
Delivery of Rewards Builds Engagement
Reinforcement Experience- Play with Your Food
Working with reinforcement deepens relationships. However, how you deliver the reinforcement makes a difference in the emotional response to the reward. Do you want your dog to be more excited by working with you? Are you competing with local wildlife for your dog’s attention? Then maybe your reinforcement needs to be high energy as well. Are you looking for a calm response to people visiting? Then your reinforcement should be delivered calmly.
Reward/Payment must be equal to the job that the dog is required to do. Use low value treats for little to no distractions. Use higher value treats for working in distracting environments.
The Name Game is such an easy but powerful game to play. It establishes a positive conditioned emotional response to your dog hearing their name. Playing the Name Game should never get old with your dog.
Builds, relationship, proximity, trust, connection and a great way to start a conversation.
Step 1 Take ten tiny treats or pieces of kibble. Say your dog’s name and give your dog a treat.
Step 2 Your dog does not need to sit, down, or do anything special. Their name will soon mean good things will happen.
Step 3 Be creative; say their name in different ways.
Step 4 This should be done in a fun and exciting way. Do this at least twice a day.