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.