Some dogs are easy to train while others are not. This is something that you have to remember when you start teaching your pup the right behaviours and some tricks.
And once you start training dogs, keep in mind that some need only a word of praise or a pat as a reward for good behaviour while others require a little more to respond to your commands. With food being one of the most effective forms of motivation for animals, it is the best kind of reinforcement to use as you work with your pet.
However, there is more to using food for training pups than simply shopping for dog treats online. You will run into several difficulties when you fail to integrate them correctly in your teaching programme for your canine.
Dog Treats and Training
To ensure you are using dog treats correctly when training your pup, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- Choose the right dog treats for your pet.
Not all dog treats are the same. Due to this reason, you have to study your options carefully and pick the most suitable product for your pet.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to opt for soft, chewy treats the size of peas since dogs can easily eat and swallow them.
Moreover, during training, pups are not too concerned about the size of the reward they get; rather, they are more impressed by the number they get. Smaller treats ensure you can give them more.
Since you will be feeding your dog several times during training, you have to be sure you are giving him healthy, good-quality food as well.
Choose a product with natural ingredients such as chicken, liver, and other types of meat. Steer clear of corn, wheat, fillers, and other substances that you are not familiar with or cannot pronounce.
2. Find dog treats that your pet likes.
There is no use buying dog treats and giving them to your pet if he doesn’t like them.
Unfortunately, you may end up getting several products before you find one that your pet will love. Because of this, be prepared to spend some money on buying different products.
You will have to try various brands and types and let your pet taste them before you get one that tickles his palate.
Don’t be afraid to experiment as well. You might discover that your dog likes both soft and freeze-dried or jerky treats. You can mix these up to whet his appetite and help him avoid getting bored by eating the same rewards over and over again.
If your pet loves his kibbles, you can even use a portion of his daily ration of food for his reward treats.
3. Use treats in the early stages of training.
Treats are most effective in the first stages of training dogs, especially if you are working with a puppy.
Untrained young dogs may have difficulties understanding verbal reinforcement and praises. They will find doing this challenging, especially if you haven’t had your pet long and have yet to build his confidence and trust in you.
Your words of encouragement and praise are not clear, tangible incentives that your dog can see and enjoy.
Food is something that your pet can smell and taste, and it fills his stomach. Because of this, he will have an easier time remembering that if he follows your command, he will be rewarded with a tasty treat.
And this will motivate your dog to demonstrate good behaviour.
As such, load up on dog treats as soon as you decide to start training your pup.
4. Follow the lure and reward training principles.
Dog treats are also best used in luring your pup to do the behaviour you want.
The lure and reward training principle or element involves holding your pup’s favourite treat in front of his nose and using it to lead him through the steps of the behaviour that you are introducing.
If your pup followed your command, give the treat as his reward.
Lure and reward work well when you are training your dog to sit, stay down, roll over, pay attention, and touch. It is also helpful when teaching your pup to walk while wearing a leash.
However, remember that this training element is not intended to be used for long. When extended, your pet might end up performing the behaviour only if the food is presented to him first.
As such, you have to know the right time to stop using treats as a lure.
5. Go easy on the dog treats.
Although treats are essential for training your pet, it doesn’t mean you should go overboard in giving him his edible rewards.
While in the learning phase, one dog treat for each executed command is acceptable. However, refrain from rewarding your pup with food for an action that he will eventually need to learn as expected of him.
Also, avoid giving your pet treats simply on a whim. Overfeeding your dog can lead to obesity, a health problem you don’t want to deal with.
7. Reward your pet randomly.
Once your pup has mastered the commands, reward him with treats at random, every once in a while.
When your dog receives a treat occasionally, you keep him interested and motivated to do the behaviour.
However, double up on giving your pup verbal praise and petting him. By doing so, you give him something to look forward to for obeying you. Additionally, it helps build a bond between you and your pet.
If you notice your pup’s behaviour or attention is waning a bit, give him a treat more often.
8. Don’t skimp on the verbal praises.
Lastly, when training your pet, always add praise to your treat rewards. Do this even before you start weaning him from food incentives.
Keep in mind that dogs are social creatures that love affection. As such, don’t skimp on kind words, praise, and adoration.
Petting is another way to show your pup love, which will also reinforce his good behaviour.
When you combine praise with dog treats, you will have an easier time encouraging your dog to continue demonstrating his good behaviour even when you stop giving him edible rewards.
Because treats are an important part of training your pup, make sure you always have a supply of his favourite edible reward. Take advantage of dog food delivery in Dubai if you can’t go out and you need to top up your supplies.