Dog Treats as a Training Tool

Treats can be a wonderful motivator when used properly during the training. Some dogs are motivated by praise, others by a favorite squeaky toy or ball, but then we have those cases where food is the almighty. Luckily, most dogs have more than one form of praise that they choose to respond to. In these cases it is best to alternate the kinds of rewards so your dog will not be expecting the same response from you every time. This will keep him on his toes and have him wondering what fun and interesting treat he is going to get from you when he does something you are pleased with.

Here are some tips when using edible treats as rewards:

Buy only high quality treats: Avoid “supermarket” treats- these are usually low quality and full of fillers such as corn and soy. They also contain unhealthy dyes and low quality meat sources.

Use small pieces: It is not the size of the treat that matters it is the delivery of the treat itself. Your dog does not need the whole biscuit when he does a proper “sit”. Just a tiny piece of the corner will do. That gets the point across that you are pleased with the job he has done and you are giving him a reward. Soft, real meat treats are easy to break up into small pieces.

Make your dog work for dinner: Some days you can use your dogs kibble as treats and have him do simple commands for each piece! Earning each piece of their dinner is a great way of stimulating the mind and keeping your pups obedience commands in check!

Make sure you have them ready: Keep treats on hand at all time during the training process. Treat bags are handy little pouches sold for the exclusive purpose of attaching to your belt to keep snacks by your side whenever you need them for your pup.

Alternate once the behavior is learned: Once your dog understands a command, don’t give her a treat every time. Instead praise her some of the time and reward with food intermittently. This way she does not expect a treat each and every time she carries out the command.

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