Pay for performance
Don't you hate when you pay a lot of money for something and are let down by lack of performance. It could be a great meal that you were expecting, a grand performance on screen or stage or even service somewhere or at your home. It sucks when you have high standards; pay for it, and are let down. No one likes to pay good money for a job poorly done. There are of course those who don't like to pay for a job well done either; it's their money and they don't want to part with it. Great service or performance should be paid for.
I say, pay for performance. In the canine world, that means rewarding a job well done. That said, you don't want to become a human pez dispenser who just pops out treats for anything and everything. What happens when you reward everything is that you create a "show me the money," scenario. Got nothing to bribe a behavior with? Forget asking. This is not the way it is suppose to work. Once a dog understands a behavior and is reliable at offering it, you wean the treats. When a behavior is more difficult to perform; say in a high distraction area, save the treats for then.
Not everything has to be rewarded by food. The other day as Elsa and I walked down a shopping area; we stumbled upon a nice big plate of Mexican food that someone had dumped. Elsa's nose is always going so she knew it was there far before I ever saw it. She nosed over towards it and I told her to "leave it." She immediately turned away and we continued our walk. I did not food reward her but gushed at how amazing she was. Had this been a couple of years ago, I would have rewarded with food. Leave the food, get a food reward. But leaving it is expected of her now.
When you expect above and beyond performance; meaning something that is really tough, grueling or requiring expertise, you need to pay for it. That means either with a really great food reward or acknowledgment in a big way. The more difficult something is, I like to resort to real pay, like food. Leaving the food on the sidewalk was easy for Elsa. The leave it behavior was ingrained in her at a very young age.
Paying for performance is essential. But even the little things should always get a "thank you." Every single thing that I ask for is acknowledged when obliged. Throughout my day you can hear me say "thank you," over and over and over again. I do not like to see guardians ask for a behavior; have it performed by their dog and that's it, nothing said. Our dogs don't have to listen to us; but if you have worked hard at creating a relationship and educated your dog; then you should thank them for obliging you.
Thank you, always. Pay, for high performance.