Dog training treats are not just regular dog treats. There are a few characteristics that make them better for teaching behaviors.
Healthy treats for training are best when they are:
- Small in size – gone with one swallow
- Easy to carry – so they fit in your pocket or dog treat bag
- Low in calories – you may need to use quite a few in a training sessio
- Will not divert the dog’s attention off of you
- Moist – so they don’t get stuck in the dog’s throat
- Of a different color than the training ground area so the dog can see the treat
You can use a piece of meat, a piece of cheese, a piece of another dog treat. Dog trainers recommend using some type of treat that is very tasty and something that the dog will not get elsewhere. It is important to separate the training exercise by giving a very special reward so the dog learns that he has to work for it.
It’s a good idea when teaching your dog a new command to have the treats ready and available. The quickness of receiving the reward associates it with the behavior you are trying to teach.
Many trainers use a dog training bag treat holder that fits on their belt for this reason. The dog figures out that the reward comes from the bag so he will pay attention to you and not look elsewhere.
We use a small dog food storage container for our treats. My dogs come into the house and sit by the treat container. Then they “speak”, the last behavior I was reinforcing, “asking” for their treat. They make sure I know they are doing the trick because they want that treat.
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