Golden rule number five: Don’t stuff your dog
If your dog is so stuffed that he does not even want another treat, he will not see any sense in “working for it”. Many advise that you should not feed regular dog food as a treat. Correct, as far as it would be funny to expect, when your dog just had a hearty kibble meal that using the very same stuff will equally work as a training incentive.
But, if your dog eats carrots as part of his daily diet or green beans, for example, there is no reason to NOT use these healthy low calorie alternatives in their original version as little pieces for your training.
In general, not every treat is also good for any situation. The more distractions present, the more attractive your treat should be in order to get your Bull Terrier to prioritize the treat over the other distractions. While sliced beans and carrots may work in your living room, you may rather need a little ham, beef jerky or cheese as motivators, once you step outside.
Training treats – and if you ask me treats in general – should also be very small, even for a large dog. Dogs have pretty sensitive taste buds paired with an excellent sense of smell. The entire concept of using treats for training is based on the idea of rewarding your dog, not feeding it.
Some professional trainers actually use the dog’s food for particular training situations and have the owners feed the dog from the hand. This is intended to correct special behavioral circumstances and in these cases ALL the dog gets the hand fed food. So, this is an exceptional l situation.
But even for standard training we can conclude that a “non-stuffed” dog will be more compliant to try and earn food. Therefore it is always a good idea not to start a training session just after your dog had a meal.
Back to a regularly fed dog and treats: Dogs don’t count by nature.
Your dog does not count, if he just gobbled down one or four treats at a time when you give them all at once. He does not know the difference. So why not enhance the value of the treats by giving them one by one and only in tiny pieces.
Once your dog has accomplished an important step on the way to a trick or the entire trick, that’s a “jackpot situation”. In this case your dog actually gets more than usual, but again BIT BY BIT, because this way he will notice that something is different, BETTER. And he will keep in mind which behavior led to the “jackpot”.
Ok, people. That’s it for the dog training basics for today.
I hope you had fun! Stay tuned for more info on dog training!