Life Rewards

Life rewards are what your dog wants at the moment. This may be dinner, to catch a ball, to get a treat. Utilizing these types of rewards make the learning fast and fun for you and your dog!

Think of this type of training as ways of having your dog say: “please, may I have the ball”. Since your dog can’t speak English and “say” please, he can use his body language and “show” you please.

Ie: You are throwing a ball back and forth for your dog.  He’s having fun but is all over the place and is running the show. Now imagine the same game with “life rewards”. The only way your dog gets to play fetch is if he sits first. That is “please” in dog language. Once he sits, throw the ball!

Try to incorporate the below “life rewards” into your dog’s routine. Come prepared to class next week to share a new one!

• Ask your dog to “wait” before their food dish is put down.
• Ask your dog to “sit” before his lead is put on each time.
• Ask your dog to “down” before they get a toy.
• Ask your dog to “watch-me” before they get a treat.
• Call your dog to “come” and take him for a ride or feed him.
• Think of ways to use life rewards with the command “come”!


This is a way of testing your dog to make sure that they are listening. You have taught your canine many commands up to this point. Let’s make sure that he understands what each word means and also that his name is NOT a command; it’s a way of getting his attention.

Exercise 1:

Ask your dog to “wait”. Use your hand signal and verbal. Then look @ your dog and say a word that he does not know. (like : spinach). If your dog walks forward past that imaginary line for “wait” then you need to walk up to him and help him back into the “waiting” area. Start over & praise when he does “wait” when you say a “neutral” word.

Up until now he has only heard the command, praise and the release word from you. So now that he’s hearing something else he may think that it’s a release word, too. Each day that you practice this exercise, change and add words to your routine. Each day words get harder. For example:

• Day 1: spinach
• Day 2: spinach, lamp, your dog’s name.
• Day 3: spinach, lamp, grass, dog’s name, treat.
• Day 4: grass, dog’s name, treat, car, eat, etc.

When he performs close to 100%, add this name game to the “stays” but keep close to your dog. Don’t add distance here.