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How to use treats for tricks

Dogs love their food – which makes it ideal for use in compliance.

We expect our dogs to complete what could be a complex command, to grasp a spoken or visual sign, and then perform a desired behaviour. This may seem easy and simple for you, but dogs do not communicate this way in the wild. By harnessing the power of something very primal to them – food – you can make the learning task easier for them.

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Here are some tips for how to approach training that’s oriented towards food:

Use small treats

It’s easy to overdo it with a treat, especially when you are training. Help ensure your dog maintains their weight by using a small treat or even pieces of treats.

Reward calmness

Remember, whatever you reward is reinforcing the behaviour that preceded the treat, so do not accidentally reward hyperactive behaviour. Wait until your dog in the right frame of mind to give that treat.

Do not bribe your dog

Here’s the situation you want to avoid. Learning how to command your dog … but he will only do so when he knows there is a treat waiting for him at the end of it. Great treat to initially get your dog’s attention, but eventually you have to rely on them less and less. In contrast, the share gains by paying attention or affection.

Responding to every step towards the desired behaviour

A common mistake is attempting to get a dog to do the whole trick or task before giving a treat … and lose patience when it does not work. Alternatively, you should aim to reward any progress, even tiny advances, toward the final goal.

For example, maybe you’re trying to train your dog to sit, as he lowers his behind, give him a little bit of a treat. When he does it again, giving another treat again. Eventually they will find out what a treat it is connected to.

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Remove distractions

Having trouble getting your dog to pay attention to the food? Perhaps because there is something more interesting going on in the background, like a noisy toy, other pets, or a children’s playground. Locate an area or time where your dog’s focus will be solely on you and the tasty treats.

Mix up the treats

Another experience with obedience training is if your dog isn’t interested in the treat. It might be that the treat you use is just not tasty enough to be interesting and motivating the behaviour you want. Test healthy dog treats until you find the one that gets the attention of your dog. For Healthy Dog Treats, visit a site like The Innocent Pet who specialise in Healthy Dog Treats.

Consider clicker training

You can also combine giving a treat with the sound that a clicker gadget makes. Your dog will associate the sound with a gift, and will eventually take the place of a treat. Of course, some dogs are more food-oriented than others. Should food not do the trick, perhaps using the dog’s toys and your affection can work instead. For the pooches with a healthy appetite for delicious treats, always make sure you choose the healthiest prizes.






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