Depending on what command you are working on, dog treats will be used in different ways. However, before you begin obedience training, there are a few general tips and suggestions that all dog owners should be aware of. Incorrectly timing rewards can begin to reverse your training effort. Avoid this set back and keep things moving in the right direction. When you know how and when to reward your dog you can prevent frustration and continue building a bond with your pet through training.
Training Tip #1: Timing is Vital to Proper Rewarding
Some dog owners new to training may feel that it is up to their pet to determine the success of each session. The truth is that more weight is placed on the human doing the training. This is why timing the reward is so important. You are communicating with your pet through treats. The reward must be given promptly when your dog does something right, even if it is not the entire gesture you are looking for. If you wait a few seconds, your pet will become confused about what he or she did right.
Training Tip #2: Treat Storage during Training
You do not want to allow your dog to remain focused on the treats, so it is often best to store them out of sight while training. Always put the package away after you have removed the treats you plan to use. That being said you also must be able to quickly retrieve rewards and give them to your pet when they do something right. A pocket or pouch kept on your body is a great choice for storing treats while training. Never allow your pet to go for the treats. If he or she does, calmly put them back into the correct position with a firm "no."
Training Tip #3: The Clicker and Dog Treats
Dog treats are very effective training tools however did you know a clicker can help even more? When used together, your pet will have an easier time understanding what you are trying to tell him or her. The clicker emits the same click each time, reducing the likeliness for confusion and misunderstanding. Clickers are inexpensive, usually available for under $2 or $3 at your local pet supply store.
Training Tip #4: Combining Dog Treats and Praise
Although you will see progress encouraged by dog treats during obedience training, avoid the urge to reward with treats only. This will create an expectation for food rewards in your pet, and possibly begin to impact his or her weight and desire to eat actual meals. Instead, combine dog treats with praise and petting. Edible rewards should only be given for large achievements while the rest can be rewarded with praise. You might be surprised to learn just how far a positive word and affection can go with a canine.
Training Tip #5: Training Treat Size
You will probably notice that dog treats marketed for obedience training are small in size. Use this as a rule of thumb when choosing your training rewards. Never use a full size biscuit intended for snack time. You will be giving your pet multiple treats during a single training session, so consider cutting up a larger biscuit or buying dog treats that come in small portions. Remember, the point is not to feed your dog but to teach him or her.