Just like people, puppies have varying likes and dislikes. When it comes to teaching them new things you need to use rewards that they really want so that they are motivated to work with you.

Some puppies enjoy petting behind the ears, others love food or play with toys. Your puppy might also love sniffing and exploring or even verbal praise.

Discovering what your puppy loves the most, is the fun part.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind… What your puppy finds motivating and worth working for is going to change depending on the environment, time of day, whether your puppy has eaten recently or how much time they have spent playing, among other things. This means that just because your puppy loves something one moment, it doesn’t mean that they will the next. You need to have a selection of things your puppy enjoys when you’re training together, so you will always have something to reward them with.

Have fun trying out different treats and games to see what your puppy loves the most.

Food is a great reinforcer for many puppies. It is something that they will need each day anyway, so consider using their food allowance to train with. You will also want to look for higher value rewards for times when distractions are higher.

If at any time you cue your puppy to do a behaviour they know well, but they choose to ignore you, have a look around the environment at what is more interesting to them at that moment. Recognise these motivators and think about how to incorporate them into your training sessions. Often behaviours that your puppy naturally chooses are the best rewards to use in training.

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