No Rewards? A question for working dog handlers
I have a question for all of you. But I am especially interested to hear from people who work dogs in any capacity, SAR, police k9, service dogs, whatever.
Is there a point at which your dog is no longer getting rewarded for its work?
I was discussing some tracking theory with people on a tracking group and a judge said something like it should be 95% training (where there were rewards to be had) and 5% testing (no rewards allowed)
I trained my first service dog tasks mostly with toy rewards. She'd complete her thing and get a game of tug for it. At a certain point she was able to do her task, was able to see the fact that it helped me, and it therefore became self rewarding for her to do it. She took pride in her work. I always thanked her and told her she was my hero when she would do a task and help me. She always got positive feedback from me for a job well done, even if it was petting or whatever.
I am curious to know if SAR handlers, k9 handlers, do your dogs still get a toy for their work ever? Or, are you still doing training outside of real work where the dog is getting high value rewards for its work. Or, does the work become self rewarding and not need to be reinforced?
I would still do brush up work with her over the years where she did get rewards for things.
I have a reason for asking this but I'm curious first what any responses are.