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Your dog’s currency

Your dog’s currency

Every dog has at least one currency. Some dogs actually have two, but you’re very lucky if you have a two-currency dog because they’re so rare.

Currency is basically what you pay your dog with. The most common currency for people training their dog is food. Treats are a fantastic currency as most dogs will literally do anything for food. Hence the phrase, “Will work for food!”

Even though food is a fantastic motivator and an even greater reward for your pooch, there are several other types of currency that I believe are necessary to use for each dog.

I have had several clients tell me that their dogs will only do something if they have a treat. Now of course this is why we teach how to fade the lure, but if you only use food to reward your dog then those results are to be expected.

Other great rewards for your dog could be playing with a tug toy, affection, or just praise on its own. It’s really important to see what your dog is ultimately motivated by. Whichever he is most motivated by, that will be your most common reward. Now since food is typically the top motivator, it’s your job to make sure that when you use food as a reward you don’t try to use a tug toy at the same time. Most dogs will get a taste of the food and nothing else matters but the food.

The dogs who will eagerly take food or anything else over food are dual-currency dogs. 

When you’re teaching behaviors that are play-driven, such as tugging on a rope to open the fridge, or fetching an object, you really don’t want to be using food as the reward. If your dog is not a dual-currency dog, I guarantee that he will lose interest in the play-driven behavior that you are trying to teach. Be sure that when you are trying to teach a play driven behavior that you are rewarding with play and/or affection. 

To find out what your dog can use as a currency besides food, watch what their favorite toy is and what they get most excited about to play with. If it’s a squeaky toy, use it! If your dog simply wants your praise, then you have the easiest reward for your dog out there.

Hope this makes sense! If you have any questions or want to know more please go to:


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Posted by on February 10, 2012 in Training tips


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