• Branaghlee Groom

The Three Types of Rewards

UPWARD Methodology does not rely on treats or pats, BUT it is reward driven. There are three types of rewards, of which UPWARD Methodology uses two.

Contrived Rewards - Contrived rewards are commonly treats, pats or toys. The reward is pre-determined by the person. Contrived rewards are great for teaching commands to a basic level - literally teaching the meaning of a word ("Sit" means the bum goes on the floor). Commonly it takes a few minutes to teach the meaning of a word using a contrived reward to a dog over the age of six months.

Opportunity Driven Rewards - Once commands are taught using contrived rewards it is necessary to advance the strength of the commands by using Opportunity Driven Rewards. These rewards are literally made-up by the dog and they achieve these rewards (or goals) by following the commands. This sounds basic; however, it requires creativity, timing and the ability to change the mind-set to "teaching when what the dog wants is also what the person wants" - in other words, "teach at easy; apply to hard". By allowing the dog to determine their own reward, they change their perception of the person's ability to "read" and calmly manage them in all situations, and increases their command-based ability.

Forced Rewards - "All dogs should be food motivated" "You need higher motivating (yummier) treats" This advice stems from the trainer not knowing how to work with a dog using command based exercises that are taught at easy times and applied to increasingly difficult situations. Distraction Training and Avoidance Techniques rely on the treat motivating the dog away from the cause of the unwanted behaviour. This mentality goes against the nature of dogs - they need to "read" subjects, not be distracted from them. By forcing rewards the dog does not want, negative behaviours often increase because the dog feels tricked and the situation is often chaotic. The dog's perception of the person is that they do not know how to calmly and effectively work with them.

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