Scientific Study Actually PROVES Dogs Prefer Praise to Food!

The following information appears on my “Method” page. However, given that the information is so important, I have repeated it here on my “Blog” page.  


Scientific Study Actually PROVES Dogs Prefer Praise to Food!


When it comes to choosing between a treat or praise from their human parent, dogs prefer the latter, a new study has found (read below). As I’ve always said, dogs don’t need food in order to be motivated to comply. And, by using praise versus food, you eliminate the numerous serious problems associated with treat training.

Treat training will never train your dog toward self-governance whereby he will happily behave within the rules and boundaries you set for him because of the benefits it brings to his life. You can, however, achieve this “Trust Zone” self-governance level using my Nature-Based Discipline, Praise & Play Method™.

My Perfect Dog system fully equips owners to teach their dogs to discern the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. It also builds a solid relationship of respect whereby the dog will defer to his owner in all situations, regarding the wishes of his owner over what he’d rather do. The biggest rewards of this are safety and freedom for the dog, and peace of mind and life harmony for the owner.

In particular, the higher, thoroughly satisfying quality of life the dog experiences as a result of truly effective training is immense. This includes the following:



  • Abundant praise.
  • Freedom to play and socialize in all kinds of fun environments.
  • More involvement in the owners’ lives versus being left behind and even shut away.
  • More exercise than ever before.
  • More sincere love and affection.
  • Peace of mind (mental wellbeing including the elimination of stress, frustration, pent-up energy, etc.).
  • Improved level of health and physical stamina.


When considering the above in comparison to the results of treat training, who would choose to go the food bribery route? Let’s consider the contrast between the two training methods in detail:



  • Treats cost money. Praise and play are free.
  • Treats can easily make your dog fat and very unhealthy. Praise and play lead to health and fitness.
  • Treats are inconvenient and burdensome, and they can be messy and stinky. Praise and play are easily and instantly at your disposal, and they’re pleasant to dish out.
  • Treats might get your dog to sit, stay, and come (at times). The Nature-Based Discipline, Praise & Play Method™ produces a completely transformed life for both dog and owner.
  • Treat training fails in so many situations such as when 1) the temptation or distraction proves to be stronger than the dog’s desire for food, 2) when you run out of treats or forget to bring them, 3) when the particular dog is not inclined toward food rewards at all, 4) when the dog’s belly is full, 5) when the type of treat offered is not appealing, and so on. The Nature-Based Discipline, Praise & Play Method™ does not fail as it connects with the core canine nature that is common to all dogs, no matter the external influences.
  • Treat training does not seek to create trust between owner and dog. The Nature-Based Discipline, Praise & Play Method™ does.
  • Treat training cannot ensure the dog’s safety. The Nature-Based Discipline, Praise & Play Method™ can.


At the end of day, treat training really is a way of bribing your dog to simply listen to you (hopefully!), whereas the Nature-Based Discipline, Praise & Play Method™ actually rehabilitates your dog from the inside out, creating a whole new set of behavioral defaults (positive ones!) within his nature. This is when dog ownership really gets exciting and thoroughly rewarding!

– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”


Dogs Prefer Owner’s Praise To Food, New Study Finds

BY SEERAT CHABBA @CRAT074 ON 08/29/16 AT 7:06 AM

When it comes to choosing between a treat or praise from their human parent, dogs prefer the latter, a new study has found.

Published in the journal Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, the study by Emory University scientists analyzed 15 dogs using an MRI to scan a their brain when the dogs was awake and unrestrained.

“We are trying to understand the basis of the dog-human bond and whether it’s mainly about food, or about the relationship itself,” Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at the university in Atlanta, said in a news release.

Berns leads the university’s “Dog Project” that began five years ago. The author of “How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Brain,” is investigating the evolution of dogs. The goal was to learn whether food is what dogs “really care about,” Berns said, according to the Washington Post.

 “Out of the 13 dogs that completed the study, we found that most of them either preferred praise from their owners over food, or they appeared to like both equally. Only two of the dogs were real chowhounds, showing a strong preference for the food,” he said.

The dogs were trained to associate three different objects with food, verbal praise from the owner and a control. The neutral activity of the dogs was recorded as they underwent 32 trials for each of the three objects with the results showing that the brains of 13 of the 15 dogs were stimulated by the praise as much as they were with the food, if not more.

The next experiment was behavioral with a Y-shaped maze constructed for each dog. One path led to a bowl of food, while the other led to the dog’s owner who praised the dog if it chose the owner’s path.

“Dogs are hypersocial with humans,” Berns explained, “and their integration into human ecology makes dogs a unique model for studying cross-species social bonding.”


Direct link to online article by International Business Times:

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