Dog Treat Training

Dog treat training is rapidly gaining popularity because it has shown to get results without the punishments used in many other methods. However, it's important to make sure you are using the treat correctly to ensure you don't become reliant on it.

Value of Treat Training

Treat training is based on the concept of teaching your dog what is expected before adding corrections. This method helps build a solid relationship with your dog, a relationship based in respect, not fear.

The treats provide not only a reward for the good behavior but also a way to mold the dog to do what you want without physically manipulating his body. This translates much easier to hand signals so that you don't have to constantly push your dog's rear into a sit, for example.

Even aggressive or fearful dogs can be trained using this method, and all dog enjoy training when it involves more rewards than punishments. Owners enjoy this as well, and even children who aren't as strong can use this method as opposed to collar corrections.

Proper Use of Treats

The number one complaint about treat training is that the dog won't perform unless the owner has a treat in his hand. This problems arises from overuse of the lure. You don't want to use the treat as a bribe—you want to use it as a reward. To do this, you want to have the treats hidden either in your pocket or in little bowls around your house so you can surprise your dog with the reward when he does the right thing.

When you are teaching the behavior, you made need to use the treat to lure your dog into the correct behavior. Do this only two or three times until your dog gets the hang of the movement. Then, use a hand signal so that it looks like you have a treat when you actually don't. When your dog performs the behavior, reward with two or three treats from your hidden stash so that it becomes more rewarding to listen to you when your dog doesn't see the treat.

Weaning Off Treats

Before you give the treat each time, have a reward word, something like "good boy" that your dog always hears before he gets the treat. Soon, your dog will begin to get just as excited when they hear that word as when they get the treat.

As your dog gets better at the behavior, performing it correctly more than 90 percent of the time, start rewarding intermittently. Don't remove rewards completely but start rewarding at random, sometimes after two correct behaviors, something after three, four, five. As long as you occasionally give a reward, this method will still be effective.

Just remember that when you make the behavior harder or change the location, you are changing the behavior, so start from scratch again. If you follow this pattern each time you teach a new behavior, your dog will learn successfully, quickly and happily.