Reward Training Will Motivate Your Dog – Find out How
If you have found training your puppy or dog to be difficult, try reward training or training with dog treats. Most puppies or dogs are motivated by food rewards combined with positive reinforcement and discipline.
If you have a puppy or dog that is particularly fussy about treats, try a variety of people food. Boiled chicken, egg, and even organic peanut butter are loved by puppies and dogs and are treat favorites that generally will not upset sensitive stomachs (in moderation and introduced slowly). One of the advantages of feeding the above kind of food rewards is that it isn’t necessary to run out and buy expensive specialty treats.
Note: If your dog is older, has any kind of hip or joint issues, then adding too many treats on top of dog food may not be a good idea. Try finding treats that are specially made for hip or joint issues.
Tips to help make your reward training system succeed:
- Don’t leave a bowl of dog food out all the time if you are interested in using reward training to train your dog. A simple but overlooked reason that dog owners fail at training their puppies and dogs using reward training is that they leave food out. Set out dog food twice a day, morning and night and collect the food bowl after your dog is finished eating.
- Train a few hours after your puppy or dog has been fed. Dogs that are full, are less likely to be motivated by a treat and therefore, less likely to learn.
- Keep the training sessions shorter, not long. Don’t bombard your puppy or dog with treats, only reward for the desired behavior. This is absolutely essential to your puppy or dog learning your commands correctly.
- Stick to and learn one command at a time. When that command is taught and can be done without a food reward, move on to the next command. Slowly teach your dog that a treat = desired behavior.
- Don’t try and use a food reward in an environment that has a good deal of distractions. Take your puppy or dog to a quiet, distraction-free environment before you try reward training.
- Make sure your puppy or dog concentrates on you, and you have your dog’s attention before you reward your dog with food. It is important that your dog concentrates on how you execute the commands.
When not to give your puppy or dog treats as a reward:
- If your puppy or dog seems fixated upon a treat, stares at a treat, or won’t perform the command without a treat, or is slow to repeat the command without a treat, then please do not proceed with reward training using treats. Some dogs are only going to do the desired command when they are being offered a treat. You do not want a treat to be a primary motivator. You do want the motivation to be praise and discipline in this case, only. A treat can be given after the training.
- Never allow your puppy to be given a treat by other people when training. A popular method of training at some large pet centers is to pass puppies around in a circle and each owner will give the puppy a treat. This is just teaching the puppy that humans are passive and submissive. Your goal is to teach your puppy that humans are leaders and not feeders when training.
By using reward training to train your puppy or dog you will be able to jump-start the process of training and with time and patience be successful in doing so.