Although it might look like magic, it isn’t! The pointers I will give you on how to make your dog the dog of your dreams, rather than of your nightmares are easy to attain.
One of the areas that I see people having a problem with, are going from a predictable rate of reinforcement to a variable rate and how to utilize reinforcers other than food (VRRV: Variable Reinforcement with Reinforcement Variety).
Variety is just that—variety of reinforcement type. The key is not to use the same old thing to reinforce the dog. Reinforcement variety not only makes strong behaviors, but it also helps enrich the dog’s life. Here are some examples of reinforcers you can use:
Food: chicken, cheese, hot dogs, liverwurst, tortellini, steak, chickpeas, kidney beans, liver brownies, kibble, burnt leftovers that no one wants, pizza crust, meat scraps, vegetables, fruit; the list is endless.
Toys: tennis balls, Frisbees, tug toys, Kongs (a Kong is a hard rubber toy with a big hole in it that can be tossed or can be stuffed with yummy treats); anything your dog likes to play with. (Exception: Don’t use old shoes or socks as toys because the dog will get the idea that your new socks and shoes are also toys.)
Activities: swimming, car rides, walks in the woods, tag-you’re-it, chasing you, jogging, hiking, grooming (some dogs do like being groomed), playing with other dogs.
“Life rewards”: sniffing that pile of poop, rolling in smelly things, playing with sticks, peeing on bushes.
Other: praise, clapping, jumping up and down, cheering, petting gently, petting roughly, just hanging out together, grabbing some grass or snow and tossing it up in the air.
When one gets stuck on only using food, the dog oftentimes won’t work for you unless you have food in your hand, which I personally find very annoying!
The PDF you will get for free, will show you how!