Dogs are essentially straightforward creatures. Some people make too much fuss out of the whole issue of dog obedience training. Dogs are very instinctive in nature and respond in special ways to many kinds of stimuli. You can use this instinctive nature to your advantage when training a dog. Simply visit any dog-friendly park and you’ll be able to observe dogs delightfully reacting to various things.
One of the strongest senses of your dog is the sense of smell, which must have been adapted from its wolf ancestors. It actually has a double function as it can detect prey and predators. The sense of smell is thousands of time stronger than in humans, which is one reason why dog treats are used as a tool in operant conditioning a/k/a clicker training, in dog training.
When was the last time you played a game of “fetch” with your dog? Do you notice how some dogs seem to have been genetically programmed to fetch anything that has been purposefully thrown for them? In fact, some even pin their ears back while doing whatever it takes to bring that ball back to its rightful owner! By taking advantage of such instinctual responses, it is possible to use this desire to play ball to make more effective dog obedience training, as a matter of fact, to some dogs tossing that ball means more than that juicy treat you are holding in your hand.
If your dog lives to play tug-of-war with you and he knows and obeys the rules of game of tug-of-war, to him that’s a treat (reinforcement.)
In other words, food treats are often used as reinforcements (rewards) but anything can be a reward to your dog, as long as he considers it of sufficiently high value.
Dogs really are a cunning and intelligent creature and its many instinctive abilities and characteristics are already determined through heredity. This becomes very useful when you are looking for creative ways to train your dog.