How to Reward a Dog Without Using Treats?

When dogs get rewarded for behavior, they are more likely to repeat it because dog associate behavior with outcome. Therefore it is essential to reward dog for good behavior. Although dogs love treats as a reward it should not be your only option.You should vary treats with other non-food rewards. This becomes even more important if your dog is on strict diet where high calories are not allowed.

Here are 5 ways to easily reward your dog without using treats.

1. Playtime with toys

If your dog follows your command and completes the task, you can give your dog his/her favorite toy to reinforce good behavior. To make it more effective, don’t make toys easily accessible to your dog by leaving them around the house. By restricting the access you will make playtime with toy much more special and rewarding.

2. Exercise

Most dogs love going for walk. Just the glimpse of their pet parent grabbing leash make them jump with excitement. Great thing is you can use this dog’s fondness for walk as a reward.

Take your dog for a longer walk than his/her usual daily walk. Maybe try different route allowing your dog to explore different parts of the neighborhood. This is surely going to make ‘walk’ reward a sweet treat.

3. Affection

Dogs love getting affection from their pet parents. If your dog’s action is rewarding enough then you can give him/her nice belly rub. Your dog may also enjoy getting ears or paws rubbed or getting nice back scratch. Observe how your dog reacts to your touch, whether he/she engages with you or not. Dogs are likely to wag tails or shake their leg and ask for more if you touch them on the parts that they like. They find it rewarding. If they don’t, they will shy away and not engage.

In case, your dog loves to cuddle,you can use extra cuddle session as a reward.

4. Praise

Praise your dog when he/she completes the task in a excited, high-pitched voice. Dogs can understand physical gestures,tone of your voice and emotion it projects. Communicating dog in a happy tone is a very effective positive reinforcement tool.

Praising consistently by saying “good boy” for appropriate behavior will keep it fresh in your dog’s mind. This will assure your dog that he/she is doing good job whenever they hear it.

5. Play time

Dog loves play time because it means getting plenty of your attention. If your dog enjoys a particular game more than the other, offer it as a reward for good behavior. Your dog will associate that behavior with fun and game. For example, if your dog went whole day without an accident in the house then spend extra time playing his/her favorite game.

Playing with dog is an effective and a fun way to bond with your dog.


Remember that each dog is different and special in their own ways. Some dogs are not too fond of treats and some dogs only response to treats. In either case try these non-food rewarding ways to teach your dog commands and reinforce good behavior. These non-food reward options are all potent tools to forge strong relationship between you and your furry friend.