Using treats in training your dog

Positive reinforcement is the key to training dogs. Just like humans, dogs are more likely to respond correctly when given approval. One such way of showing your approval through positive reinforcement is by giving a dog a treat when he does what you want him to do.

In order for this method to work correctly, the treat must be given to your dog within seconds of his good behavior. This is so he associates the reward with his action. Just as you would punish your pet immediately after he does something wrong so that he will remember not to do it, if you reward him when he acts correctly, he will remember your command and do the desired action.

In addition to giving your dog the treat within the right time, you must also be consistent. Animals do not usually remember a command after one session. You must repeat the process with him over and over until he recognizes the instruction. Try working with him at least 10 minutes a day, giving him a treat when he does well. Eventually he will respond to your command without needing the treat.

When you are first teaching the desired behavior, the website from the Humane Society suggests rewarding him with the treat three out of every four times he does the behavior. Then, over time, reward him about half the time, then about a third of the time, and so on, until you’re only rewarding her occasionally with the treat. To complement this, always give your pet praise so that they know they did well.

Sometimes it is in your best interest to use other means of positive reinforcement to train your dog. Some dogs may be only interested in the treat you are hiding in your pocket instead of listening to your instructions. Also, they may come to expect a treat every time he obeys your command and will learn to beg. There is nothing more annoying than eating while a drooling dog is whining next to you. Lastly, your dog may become overweight if you give him too many treats. Of course this can be combated by exercise though.

To avoid these potential problems, you could simply praise your dog with an encouraging tone of voice and pet him. Or perhaps he has a favorite toy you can give to him when he is showing a good behavior. In my own personal experience, however, a small treat works best.

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