6 Fun Ways to Use Dog Treats for Training
Training and teaching your dog even the simplest of behaviours that they need to be safe outdoors or around other dogs is really important
for any dog owner. But many would understand and remember the trials and tribulations of getting puppies to listen to even simple commands.
Which is, as we firmly agree, the right time to bring out the treats.
Whether you have a small puppy that you’re trying to teach simple behaviour control, a tough-to-teach rescue, or - let’s face it - any dog
of any age during vet visits or grooming, you’re using treats to make it easier. Which treats, how many, and how you present these treats to
your pet is the key to successful training and long-term help and happiness. So, what are the dos and don’ts of treating your pet? What can
you do with treats to make your dog even more attentive? And which treats are the best in the right situation? Check out our 6 tips for
treating your dog in training.
1. Rewarding success
Or, more specifically, rewarding the right behaviours. It doesn’t actually matter if your dog manages to get it completely right, so long as
they have the right idea - it’s about cementing good behaviours. But when it comes to treating, it’s important to provide a treat that has a
pleasant burst of flavour for your dog, and also load on the love together. For a high-flavour treat for encouraging and rewarding good
behaviour try our dried Chicken Fillets, and break off small pieces to
spread out the love.
2. Consistency is key
When you’re training your dog, treats are a great way to encourage them to pay very close attention and it’ll reinforce the behaviours they’re exhibiting when you feed them. And that is why it’s so important to be consistent with your treat-giving. A tasty treat is a memorable event for your pet, and they’re going to remember why they received it.
So, don’t just give your dog a treat because you love them (even though that’s the best reason). Make them perform a regular trick or
behaviour - like stay, come, shake, or wait patiently before you feed it to them. That way, you’re encouraging a familiar behaviour, and not
the random thing they were just thinking about!
3. Dogs just wanna have fun
While a lot of dogs are very motivated by food, they aren’t really motivated as simply as that. It’s the full experience of doing
something they love, being around people they love, having a tasty snack, and being told - in a lovely tone - just how good they are. So,
when you’re treating your dog through training, it’s important to keep the other elements there, too. Have fun, give the snack with a pat
and a scritch, and let them know they deserved it. They’ll pay much more attention.
4. Keep nutrition in mind
Life would be great if we could just grab a bag of whatever snacks and feed the lot to our favourite dog every day without consequences.
Unfortunately for them, snacks can be poorly balanced for nutrition. Bow Wow snacks are designed to be healthy for your pet, but
even then, you should pay attention to the amount of food you’re providing to your dog every day.
5. Exercise their senses
A large advantage of good treats over poorly made ones, is in the ingredients used. Natural ingredients, like we use in Bow Wow treats, have a fantastic fresh scent that will entice your dog - and that’s something that you can use. A fantastic way to train your dog with enriching activities (which is super important), is to play hide-and-seek with treats.
You can hide their treat in either one sneaky location, or spread it out over a wider area, and watch as your dog follows their nose and
thinks their way to a tasty snack. The key is to use foods that carry a strong and alluring scent, but keep in mind that your dog has a far
greater sense of smell than you, so anything with fresh, natural ingredients will be a good option. Our favourite snack for hide and seek is
Snack Sticks because they break up nicely, and have all natural ingredients.
6. Distractions are sometimes necessary
Often, we prefer for our dogs to listen to us and pay close attention to what we’re doing, but sometimes we’re looking for the exact opposite! When you need a behaved and distracted dog at the vet or dog groomer, or if you just really need to sneak past their favourite cafe without all of the usual hubbub, you’ll need a distraction.
The moment of most attention that you receive - when they’re the most distracted, will be right before you give them a treat. When your dog is focusing on performing the task that is familiar to them, where they’re usually rewarded, and they can see your hand in a fist - a classic giveaway that treats are a’coming, that’s when they’re busiest! And that’s when they’ll let a groomer do their work. Continue the treats, space them out, and you’ve just bought yourself ten minutes of captivated dog.
And that’s our six tips. But remember; the most important thing to do in training is to have fun, bond, and show your dog some affection.
Keep the treats healthy, and keep the smiles coming.