Rewarding dogs for behaviors can be done with food/treats, toys, or affection. In many cases, using food or treats is the most effective way to train your dog. Today, Bailie, Madison and I are sharing some of our training tips using food as a reward. Your dog, and what you are training for will also determine which type of reward is best for your own situation.
5 Tips For Rewarding Dogs With Food
1. Small, Single Pieces
The size of the reward is not the key. For most humans this concept is hard to believe, but it is true. A dog gets a lot of pleasure out of eating several pea sized treats, fed one at a time. Dogs don’t count, but we do count in our own way. Your dog doesn’t want to put on the pounds training either, which makes small pieces good for the furry waistline.
2. Jackpot Treating
Sometimes after your training work is done, it is nice to give the dog a jackpot of treats. The jackpot consists of a bunch of the tiny pieces all at once. Dogs see this as one big treat, not multiple small treats. It’s a fun way to end a training session.
3. Every Dog Loves Variety
Most dogs love treats, and food, but it is a good idea to use a variety of foods when training. Some of us love lamb, some love beef, some like crunchy best. It makes training much more fun if don’t have the same treats, every day, forever. Variety is the spice of life, you know. For dogs this holds true as well.
4. Keep Your Pup Guessing
Keeping your dog guessing what reward she will get is motivational. Maybe you will be making your own treats, like my Lamb Balls. Perhaps for “sit” you use freeze dried pork, and for “down”, small crunchy treats. Because your dog will like some treats better than others, they are more apt to perform in the hope of getting their favorite treat. Whatever you choose to use for training, don’t go cheap! Get really good, healthy treats your dog will want to work for! Veggies are a great reward, if you have a dog who likes veggies. My sisters and I do not like veggies. Friends of ours will do almost anything for green beans, so crazy!
5. Rewarding Dogs With Large Treats
What about large treats, or cookies? I say, every treat has its place. Big treats are good for a single action, such as coming in from the yard when called. One doesn’t want to dole out too many big treats or your dog’s fur will start to feel snug!
Always keep the size, amounts, and variety in mind when training your dog, or handing out treats. You will both be happier, your dog will stay fit, and work better for you too.