Ok, so you’ve decided it’s the right time to start your dog’s obedience training. It’s not just a simple task of making the animal understand a visual or verbal cue and react properly. Most dogs require significant reinforcement and repetition. Using a doggie training treat as a reward helps channel their primitive instincts during dog obedience training.
Selecting a Doggie Training Treat
There are so many doggie treat options to choose from it can be a challenge. It’s important always to pick the doggie treat with the best nutrition, so don’t forget to read the labels!
Canine Mini Treats
These are terrific as they’ll help you reduce the chance of overfeeding your doggie and help them maintain their normal weight. Plus, they’re easy and quick for them to eat, so their attention will be more on you rather than eating. If you don’t have small morsels, you can always break a larger treat into smaller pieces.
Canine Tender Treats
While hard ones might provide the crunch your pal may like, they’ll take longer for them to devour. Like the smaller ones, tender tidbits are ones your pup can eat quickly so as not to draw their attention away from you for too long.
Remember, reinforce the behavior that occurs before the doggie training treat. So when your pooch is where you want them to be, reward them. For instance, let’s say you’re teaching them to lie down. They should only be given the treat when they are making small steps toward lying down or after the command is complete, i.e., lying down.
If you find your pup isn’t focusing on you or the food, it could be because they’ve discovered something more fascinating, perhaps a group of kids playing, a car whizzing by, a squirrel scuttling about or even another dog walking by with their owner. The more quiet and secluded your training area is, the better chance you’ll have of getting them to pay attention to you and the yummy tidbit!
A Reward for Every Step Forward
Don’t make the same mistake many dog owners do and expect your buddy to do the whole command before handing over the treat. Consistently reward their progress toward the final goal. For example, say you’re training them to perform the “sit” command. But they only drop their rear a tiny bit; that’s ok, give them a treat. You try again, and they repeat the same action; give them another one. He’ll eventually realize the connection between lowering their rump and the reward. When they do, withhold it until they put their butt closer and closer to the floor. Pretty soon, they’ll actually be sitting for that tasty tidbit.
Fading out the Treat
At the start of training, treats are wonderful to use to get their attention; you can even use a clicker in conjunction with treats. Yet as the training goes on, you want to wean them from the snacks and eventually not use them at all. In place of the snacks, you should use the clicker or your affection as reinforcements.
For example, use treats several times to urge them to perform a command such as “come” or “sit.” Then, using the same hand, gesture to them to perform the command again but hold the treat in your other hand. When they complete the command, say, “Good boy!” and give affection and then the reward. Eventually, you won’t need to give them the treat, only affection and encouragement.
You may find that providing treats doesn’t work for your particular dog or breed, and that’s ok. Not all dogs respond to food during obedience training. Perhaps some affection or a toy would will better as a reward during training. If you’d rather leave it to the professionals to train them, please contact Canine Commander today. We’ll be happy to help!