Training a dog can be a daunting and exhausting task. You may think that you can’t possibly use treats to train your dog, because they will only do what you want when they get rewarded. No worries there though! Dogs are very smart, and loyal. Therefore, they will do what you want even when you leave the treats back home.
Training Your Dog? Here’s What You Need to Know About Using Treats for Training
Reasons to Use Treats
There are so many reasons why you should use treats when you are training your dog. The main reason though is your dog will instantly know they have done something good when they are rewarded with one of their favorite treats. If you are rewarded for doing something good, wouldn’t you want to keep doing it?
Start When Your Dog is Young
While you can start training a dog at any time, it is much easier when they are still a puppy. Treats work best with puppies, because they haven’t figured out what all that praise they are receiving is all about. A puppy does know that treats are good though and they will keep doing what you want in order to get more.
Use the Lure and Reward Method
Training your dog with the lure and reward method is easier than you think. If your dog is sitting and you want them to lay down, simply place the treat in your closed hand and bring it towards your dog’s nose. Your dog will smell the treat, so you can easily say “down” as you bring your hand towards the ground. Once your dog is laying down, you can give them their treat.
Don’t Overdo the Treats
It is so easy to give your dog more than one treat when they do something you want them to. However, giving out too many rewards can be harmful to the training process. The main reason is your dog will fill up on the treats faster. And when that happens, they won’t want to do anything else. Of course, more treats also mean more weight gain and that is never a good thing for a dog!
Phase Out the Treats Over Time
We are not saying that you must stop giving your dog treats for good, but there must be a time when you phase out the treat portion of training. As soon as your dog begins to follow your commands regularly, you can start randomly giving them treats. This way, they won’t know when they are getting a treat, but they will still do what they need to.
It can be difficult to phase out the treats, so you should watch for certain signs to see if you are doing it properly. If your dog starts to slide backwards in their training, you will know that you moved too quickly within the phasing out stage.
Start the Life Rewards Instead
Once you have successfully started to phase out treats, you can begin using life rewards instead. When your dog does something you ask, you can play with them, take them for a walk, or spend a few extra minutes petting them. Your dog will understand this type of reward just as much as they understood the treats you used to give them.
This is everything you must know about using treats to train your dog. There are definitely right and wrong ways to use treats, especially if you want to reach a point where you don’t rely on treats to get your dog to follow your commands. These tips should help you train your dog and get them to a different reward system in no time at all.