Everyone likes to be appreciated for good behavior. Why should our pet dogs be an exception then? Praises and treats are tools that work great for positive dog training. However, there are certain rules that should be kept in mind while using training treats, so that the owner gets the right kind of response from his pet dog, instead of getting manipulated by the canine in doling out a treat every time he wants to get a response.
Points to Remember
Positive reinforcement training through dog treats is something that trainers commonly resort to. Yes, the technique is just as simple as it sounds. But there are certain guidelines that need to be followed before your sweet puddle starts ruling your household with an iron paw.
Time Your Treat: The treat should be given within a few seconds of achieved reaction. Otherwise, your pet may not be able to associate it with his response that is being appreciated.
Keep Your Commands Short: Dogs won't understand long sentences. Don't say "Fudge I know you are a good boy. I want you to sit for me now." All that you would draw from Fudge is a blank stare. Keep your commands short like sit, stay, come, and so on.
Be Consistent: Everyone in the family must use the same command, otherwise your pet may get confused. Instead of getting positive behavior, you would have the pet behaving in a completely opposite way. Not that it is his fault or that he is doing it on purpose, he's just not getting the right cue from you.
Come Off the Treat Gradually: Start off with treating your dog four out of five times. Them come down to three, two, and one. Let the affair finally be an occasional treat. This aspect of dog training is very important to prevent your dog from getting used to treats. This also reduces the chances of the dog getting frustrated once this product is abruptly stopped from being used.
Treats Used in Dog Training
Dog treats are just one of the rewards that a pet owner can give his dog to modify his behavior. But just as for the training there are certain guidelines, there are also some points to be considered while selecting the treats for your pet.
Soft: You definitely don't want your pet to sit and keep chewing the treat. If the treat is hard and chewy, then your dog's attention would be more on finishing off his treat rather associating it with his positive behavior that is being rewarded.
Small: Training treats should be small so that they can be eaten quickly. Just because you want to reward your pet with something extra for a really good job, doesn't mean that you get a big treat. This would again take his attention off from linking the reward with positive reaction, just like a hard and chewy treat would. Rather, give him a couple of small treats for his good job.
Tasty: Different dogs have liking for different tastes. Identify the taste that your dog is most fond of. Dogs usually like strong tasting treats. There are quite a few brands available at pet stores. However, don't compromise on something healthy while choosing the ones with a strong flavor.
Colorful: Wondering what color has to do with your dog training treat? Well, a lot. In fact, more so for professional dog training, as the floor in these centers are usually dark in color. The treats should be bright, so that the canines can easily see them when they are given to them.
Variety: Wouldn't you get bored if you were given a burger or a slice of pizza every time for a job well done? Same is with your canine friend. Have a variety of treats at hand, so that these keep motivating your pet for every desired behavior.
Natural: In our bid to shop for easy treats, we often tend to put our dog's health at risk. Giving him leftovers from the dining table may work fine occasionally. But this occasional act may be harmful for little dogs, as this may cause obesity and other health issues in them. Hence, try to give your dog natural pet treats. This could be made from natural ingredients at home itself.
Dog training treats have been used by trainers for years now. Reward is something that every animal understands, and it can be easily used to modify your dog's behavior.