Do you have a list of rewards your dog really likes for your training sessions? We all know it is a good idea to have an arsenal of what turns your dog’s crank. I bet it includes different kinds of special treats and toys, praise/play or belly rubs and the like. Some rewards might include permission to go for a run or jump up on you. They are great and I use them all at various times. However there does exist a rather ordinary reward that is constantly available. Most think of this valuable resource as ‘free’ and deserved all of the time. Water. Yes, water is a necessity and I AM NOT suggesting unduly withholding water! However, I never, ever let my dogs ‘choose’ to leave me and drink when I am working with them. I make sure they are always well hydrated but I release them to water at an opportune time when I feel they need it, and most importantly when I feel they earned it as well! I find this really builds value for a good, clear break in training and it is has become another high value reward for them to rush and guzzle the liquid stuff. Fantastic self-control skills are another real benefit when the water bowl is nearby. Interestingly this kind of environmental control and focus has spread to more informal training sessions in my home as opposed to in my training building. When I am working a skill at home, my dogs have learned not leave a session with me to go and drink water unless released. Of course, when not training they have absolute free access to water but given the correct context, they have their game faces on even when working in an informal home setting. That is good news for me as I want to build as much focus and dedication to the job (whatever it may be) with me. Of course, another benefit is when you are down to your last cookie crumb in your pocket, (and we have all been there) – just send ’em to the water bowl for a cool fresh reward!