By Tamara McRill
Have you been trying to positively reinforce good behavior in your dog by treat training, but it just isn’t working? The problem could be in your technique. Simply giving your pet a bit of food without these best practices could be just a waste of both your time. I know, because I’ve been there and had to refine my technique.
Eliminating these common treat training mistakes from your routine will help you get your dog sitting pretty.
1. Sub-Par Treats
Dogs may have a reputation for eating any and everything, but any old treat may not be enough to motivate them to pay attention. My three dogs each have treats they just don’t like. Dusty won’t take anything that isn’t meaty. Although most treats for training purposes should ideally come from your pet’s daily food allowance, make sure what you are using as a lure or reward is actually a dog treat your pet desires. Otherwise there is no incentive for them to complete a desired action.
2. You Don’t Mix It Up Enough
That’s not to say you should be giving your dog his favorite snacks every time—you shouldn’t. It’s best to try and alternate treats so your pet isn’t sure when her favorite will appear. My dogs love to be rewarded with CANIDAE Snap Biscuits, but I use a variety of treats so they stay focused on the task and don’t get bored. In addition to the Snap Biscuits, CANIDAE also offers Snap-Bits and TidNips in three different flavors, so I have a lot of great options!
3. Lack of Praise
Every time you reward your pet with a treat, you should also positively reinforce the reward with genuine praise. This does double-duty by further establishing that they are doing good and placing a higher value on your praise, as it will be associated with a food reward. Soon enough, you’ll be able to sometimes substitute praise as a reward, instead of a treat.