When you bring home a new dog, one of the first things to do is to train it. For me and my family, it was necessary for our new pet to understand simple instructions. It is common knowledge that the secret to training your dog is to use treats because food is such a huge motivator for them.
In our experience, it was really effective when we were doing obedience training. Getting them to perform a task might seem easy for us humans, but dogs do not just understand the way people do. They need something very basic and primal, like food, to learn a task.
Training your dog depends on various factors, like the age of the dog and its temperament. For us, using treats to train our new dog was possible, especially if you follow these simple tips.
- Use Small Treats
While using some treats is good because our dog got fed at the same time, but it was important for us not to overdo it. Some dog breeds are prone to obesity and giving too many treats can be dangerous for its health.
Another trick that worked for us was to use different kinds of treats to mix it up and keep it exciting for our pet. Choosing healthy ones was also important for our dog’s diet.
- Reward Your Dog When It Is Calm And Submissive
The idea of rewarding with treats is to encourage the right behavior, which is why we had to be careful when we give the dog the treats. If you give your pooch a little treat while it is hyperactive or doing something destructive, then you are teaching your pet to act this way. We simply had to wait until the dog is calm and submissive before giving treats.
- Do Not Use Treats To Bribe The Dog
While using treats is a great way for your pet to learn new tricks, you should definitely avoid using it for the wrong purpose. We did not want our pet to mistake the treat for a bribe. If you notice your dog waiting expectantly for the treat, then this is a bad sign. Ideally, you teach it to follow a command using a treat, but you should rely on this less and less. Our secret is to use reinforcement and praise to make it follow our commands.
- Reward Each Step
Most tasks actually involve a few steps, like throwing a stick and having the dog get it and bring it back. One huge mistake we made is to only reward after it has done the entire task, which can be quite frustrating for everyone. Instead, we changed our technique, breaking down the task into smaller ones and get the dog to perform them first.
To do this, whenever your pet does each step correctly, remember to give it a treat. Once all the steps have been done correctly, then you can teach it to do them all together. Even if your pet is not able to do everything perfectly, any progress in the right direction should still be rewarded. In our experience, this kept our dog motivated the entire time.
- Learn “fade the lure”
Fade the lure is an important technique to avoid the treat turning into a bribe. Simply put, you will use the treat the first few times to make it do the task you want it to do and then once it has mastered it, do the same gesture but with an empty hand. Our trick was to replace the treat with verbal encouragement. At times, we still continued to randomly use the treat, but eventually we reduced it until we stopped giving treats completely.
Even without training or experience, teaching our dog new tricks was not complicated, because we used the right techniques. Giving it treats is one of the most successful ways to do it, and it was great for making sure our new dog was obeying our commands and settling in the family well.