If you remember from a high school psych class, an intrinsic reward is something that is internally rewarding--something that feels good. Because this reward occurs internally, the behaviors are automatically reinforced.
Intrinsic rewards are one of the biggest battles in dog training. In dogs, these are most commonly displayed as counter surfing, chasing animals, or jumping on people.
It is really difficult to train these behaviors out using positive reinforcement (given a reward for an alternative behavior) because the act in and of itself IS the reward.
Your Dog's Brain says:
"Why wait for a treat when not jumping on the counter when instead I can jump on the counter and eat that steamy rotisserie chicken you just got from the supermarket?"
The choice is obvious--chicken (or the possibility of chicken) will win EVERY time when put up against patience and a milk bone.
The adreneline from running 20MPH across the street at the neighbors cat is a crazy high, where the peanut butter training treat in your pocket dulls in comparison.
This is where consequences come into play.
We need to teach our dog that there are rewards and consequences in life.
If you chase that squirrel, there will be a (typically low) consequence, but if you don't, you will get those PB treats!
Now, the playing field is leveled.
The first time is no longer a no-brainer ending in squirrel meat--it's now a decision. A choice that must be made.
The fifth time this occurs, the decision becomes easier. Obviously, the food.
The 200th time, it isn't a decision anymore. They have learned that the reward of not giving into that intrinsically rewarding behavior is far better than the consequence.
Intrinsic rewards can be difficult to train away, but don't have to be.
Welcome to Everywhere Dog Blog!
Tips, tricks, and lessons learned from Everywhere Dog and their journey!
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies
Amazon Affiliates Disclosure Policy
Kayla Reilly is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.