best treats for dog training
Let’s talk about… Treats

Date

Treats are the most common training motivator. Soft, easily chewed treats are best so your dog doesn’t have to stop and chew up a crunchy one.

Size – treats need to be about the size of a pea (my Pyr gets even smaller ones). Dogs don’t speak English but they know a jackpot when they get one! If you use tiny bits of soft treats you can deliver 3 or 4 treats for a rockstar down many times and not have to worry about turning your dog into a sausage girl or boy.

Amount – If you use tiny bits of treat you may only use the equivalent of 1 or 2 treats for entire training session. Be sure to deduct from their meal the amount of treats they’ve been given (see sausage dog mentioned above).

IMPORTANT: Treats are for teaching. Once your dog has been able to perform the command successfully 5 or 6 times start fading them out by giving a treat occasionally, or treat when they’ve performed it faster/better/more accurately. Don’t stop treats cold turkey. Avoid giving a treat if you had to wait for compliance–you don’t want to accidentally reward reluctance–but praise them when they finally comply.

Availability – Have little bits of treats in different rooms so if your dog does something you absolutely love you can quickly reward it. When in public I always have a few treats in my pocket in case I have to be sure to have my dog’s attention, or want to jackpot an exceptional performance.

Treat boredom – Dogs can get tired of a particular treat just like we can get tired of a particular food (except perhaps chocolate!) so feel free to have a variety.

More Articles & Training Tips