ARE WE JUST PUSHING TREATS?
When using food to train a dog we build up the behaviour of contrafreeloading.
“Contrafreeloading is an observed behavior in which an organism, when offered a choice between provided food or food that requires effort to obtain, prefers the food that requires effort. The term was coined in 1963 by animal psychologist Glen Jensen.”
Once we have this behaviour instilled we can use it to both train and modify behaviours. We also have the dog to the point where they will work for the value given by their human. And at this point (and only at this point) we can perform reward variants which mean that we can use love (verbal, petting ect) and play, as the reward for performing the behaviour or actions asked by our cues.
When I saw this iceberg picture on another page, it made me think that I should explain a little of how this works along with sharing the picture.
There is a lot more psychological shaping and research which has gone into concept training and positive reinforcement methodology.
But this will hopefully give many a glimpse into how this works, over and above, action = reward.