Non-Food Options for Rewarding Your Dog

When your dog does well with its training, follows commands, or is a good listener, it can be tempting to reward it by giving it a treat. After all, many dogs are food-driven and will happily accept a dog treat or food scraps. But those extra calories throughout the day can add up.

Too many treats can increase your dog’s risk of obesity, which can affect its health. Extra weight can put strain on your dog’s joints, heart, lungs, and other organs. While a healthy treat now and then is fine, consider other ways to reward your dog that doesn’t rely on food but still let them know they’re doing a good job.

  • Verbal Praise

Celebrate your dog with the words you say and how you say them. Try to use the same phrases over again so your dog associates them with doing something positive, and use an excited, upbeat tone so they can feel the energy in your voice.

  • Affection

Show your dog affection through belly rubs, ear or head scratches, hugs, or simply giving them a good pet. If your dog likes to be brushed, you can brush their fur to give them a gentle massage as a pleasant reward.

  • Playtime

Did your dog do a great job listening on your walk and staying beside you without pulling? Celebrate with a game of fetch, frisbee, tug-of-war, or chasing each other around. Pull out a favorite toy that they don’t normally get to play with and let them enjoy for a few minutes. Or surprise them with a new toy! Take a trip to the dog park and let them run and play with the other dogs.

  • Go for a walk or car ride

Does your dog jump around and get excited at the idea of going out for a walk or riding in the car? That can be a great way to reward them after they have done something positive. Take a spin around the block as you verbally praise them as well.

  • Use treats sparingly

If you are going to give a food reward, make it small. Break larger dog treats into smaller pieces and give them throughout the day or save a little bit of your dog’s morning food and reward them with a few pieces at a time as a treat. Another option is to use fresh veggies such as broccoli, carrots, or green beans as an occasional treat. Fresh fruits work as well, just make sure to avoid grapes and fruit with pits. Ice cubes can also be a refreshing, calorie-free reward for your dog.

The next time you pick up your dog from a great stay at the boarding facility, bring along a favorite toy or let them casually walk, sniff, and explore the grass before heading home. It may not seem like much to you, but it can be fun, exciting, and rewarding for them. Book your dog’s next stay at Lake Wylie Pet Resort by contacting us today!