Using treats to train your dog

Treats are a great motivator for your pup and should be used throughout training! A high quality, tasty treat works best.

You want a treat that your dog absolutely loves since that will give him the motivation to learn new commands. Soft treats work best since they are easy to break. The treat should be small. You do not want to give your dog a whole bone or a large treat every time he does a command. The do g w ill quickly become full and will no longer be interested in learning. The ideal size of the treat should be the size of a dime. Yes, a dime!

In the beginning you want to give your dog a treat every time he performs a new behavior. This helps to show your dog that he is on track and motivates him to continue to learn. Make sure to praise him every time too. So it should be “good boy!” as you give him the treat.

Timing is critical! If you ask your dog to sit, he sits, and then as you fumble for your treat he gets up and walks away, you have missed your opportunity to reward the good behavior. So be ready to reward within 1-2 secs after the dog does the behavior you are looking for.

Once your dog starts to become “fluent” in his new command, it is important to fade out the treats so the dog will listen to you even when you don’t have anything in your hand.  To do this, you want to turn your dog into a gambler. Give him a treat the first time, then the 3rd time, then 4 treats the 10th time, and so on. For your dog, “winning” a treat, becomes just like someone sitting at the slot machine hoping to win the jackpot. Your do g w ill never know when he will get lucky so he will play all day long.