By: The Pet Botanics Staff
Positive reinforcement, in which a reward (commonly food treats) is provided for the dog for performing a correct response, has become the most commonly used method among professional trainers and pet parents alike. It is easy to see why. Not only is it more humane than using something the dog finds aversive to teach a behavior, it can also be very effective when done correctly.
Using a reward that’s highly desirable is the key to success in positive reinforcement training. The treat must have such an irresistible taste that a dog told to “Sit” will want it more than he wants to chase the squirrel running in front of him. A mildly flavorful treat that elicits a positive response to a training command under normal circumstances might not be tempting enough to keep the dog focused in an environment that is filled with distractions such as people and other dogs.
Inequality of Training Rewards
In other words, all training rewards aren’t created equal. Think of it the same way as with human desserts. Both chocolate fudge layer cake and a wafer can be considered desserts, but which one would you rather have! There is a similar hierarchy in dog training treats. Dogs favor certain treats over others and will learn faster and perform better when these “high-value” rewards are administered during training.
Many trainers and pet parents have discovered this on their own, but now it has actually been validated by science. An international team of animal behaviorists led by Stefanie Riemer of the University of Bern conducted research to determine which works better as a reinforcer in dog training — the quality or the quantity of food rewards. Dogs in the study were required to traverse a 20-meter runway, at the end of which was a bowl with either a high-value food (one the canine subjects had previously shown a preference for) or a much larger quantity of lower-value food. It was found that the dogs ran down the runway significantly faster for the high-value food than for the lower-value food. The study concluded, “Higher quality rewards therefore appear to entail greater incentive motivation in dogs than a greater quantity of a lower value reward.” This was shown to be true, the researchers noted, even though “classic models assumed that an animal’s response strength in operant tasks . . . was directly related to the magnitude (i.e. ‘quantity, intensity, or duration’) of the reward provided.”
Pet Botanics Is #1
So, quality beats out quantity as a training motivator. But how do trainers and pet parents identify the most effective high-value rewards to use in their classes or training their pets? They can try conducting taste tests, of course, but there’s an easier way to sniff out treats that canine’s rate high on the value scale. At Pet Botanics, we’ve done the work for you. We’ve created one of the highest-value rewards you can use to motivate dogs during training.
But don’t take our word for it. Pet Botanics is the #1 training reward brand sold in Pet Specialty retailers throughout the US! Pet Botanics Training Rewards are used and recommended by top professional trainers nationwide because they make training easier, more effective and more enjoyable – for both pets and people.
Quality ingredients are what’s behind Pet Botanics’ longstanding success. Made in the USA, our treats use only the best ingredients, starting with high-quality protein like real chicken or pork liver (which is many dogs’ favorite flavor!). The enticing meaty aroma captures pups’ attention, while the mouthwatering taste keeps the dog focused throughout the training session. Additional flavor sensations are provided by our exclusive blend of BotaniFits™ natural botanical foods, including blueberries, cranberries, rosemary, dandelion, chamomile, peppermint, and more.
We know that individual dogs may favor different tastes and textures, so Pet Botanics offers variety in its range of treats. Our Soft & Chewy Training Rewards come in Beef, Bacon, Chicken, Cheddar and Grain-Free Duck & Bacon varieties. We also offer Jerky Bites and Freeze-Dried treats, two extremely appealing formats that have become popular for use in high-value rewarding.
Puppy Training and Other High-Value Situations
Pet Botanics has also introduced a new reward formulated specifically for puppies, Puppy Bites Training Rewards. Mini-size and just 1.5 calories each, Puppy Bites are easy on tiny teeth and sensitive gums, and won’t overload developing digestive systems, even when given repetitively as a training reinforcer. With a yummy peanut butter aroma and flavor, they offer big motivation in every mini bite, keeping young pups with even the shortest attention spans focused on learning. Pet Botanics Puppy Bites also support puppies’ development with DHA for cognitive health and high-fiber ingredients like pumpkin to promote easy digestion.
A high-value reward is an especially important tool for training puppies, because they get so easily distracted. Not only will a highly coveted reward hold their attention better when learning commands, it’s also very valuable during essential early socialization training, since it can be used to create a positive association when the puppy is exposed to new sights, sounds, experiences, people and other animals.
While high-value rewards produce superior results in general, there are certain extra challenging situations, like puppy training, where they can make an extremely big difference. One of these is training dogs of any age in highly distractive environments, like a group class or a park or outdoor area. Another circumstance that calls for high-value rewards is when the learning difficulty level is high, such as when a brand-new behavior is first introduced. Counter-conditioning and desensitization to erase undesirable behaviors such as fear, anxiety and aggression are other instances in which reaching training goals will be a lot easier with high-value rewards. It is clear that these ultra-desirable treats hold “high value,” not only for dogs, but also for trainers and pet parents, helping them navigate the trickiest training challenges.
For more information on Pet Botanics High-Value Training Rewards, please visit https://petbotanics.com/
To subscribe to the Pet Botanics newsletter, click here.