Dog training truly is an art form. While pretty much anyone can do it, it takes time, expertise, and know-how to be successful. Because dogs each come with their own personalities and quirks, it’s important to utilize dog training to transform your pooch into woman’s best friend.
There are a lot of incredible ideas and concepts when it comes to dog training, but the most effective is almost always positive reinforcement. This means you encourage a dog’s good behavior with something she’s excited about, like a delicious treat or positive attention.
However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Timing truly is everything, especially when it comes to our furry friends. In this guide, I’ll explain the best timing to include treats in your dog training.
3 Tips for Using Training Treats With Your Dog
1. Understand Dog Training Connections
When you’re training your dog, you’re helping her make connections in her brain. She’ll come to associate good behavior or commands with a positive form of reinforcement.
For example, if you give your dog a treat every time she sits on command, she’ll come to associate sitting with the yummy treat.
The same goes for when your dog is doing something unwanted, like chewing on a shoe. You need to interfere at the right time so she connects the behavior (and the reward) with the command.
As mentioned above, timing matters. If you’re unclear in your timing, your dog might not make the right connection.
While you still might make some progress in your training efforts, this will slow down your progress.
When it comes to training your pooch, you want to be as precise as possible with your timing. In doing so, you’ll help your dog learn quickly and with less stress for everyone!
2. Determine the Perfect Timing for Treats
So what exactly is the “perfect” timing when you’re training your dog? The answer is to give your dog the high-reward treat as quickly as possible, after she has successfully completed the command, to reinforce the positive behavior during training.
While this isn’t always possible, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that your dog will do a new behavior. Dogs don’t have the same attention span as humans. If your dog begins to present a different behavior, you’re not reinforcing the same behavior anymore.
Let’s say you’re teaching your dog to lay down. She lays down on cue, but she stands up again before you give the treat. If you treat her after she’s already stood up, she might begin to associate the treat with standing, negating the point of the command.
See why this might be confusing to the dog?
You’ll want to give your dog a high-value treat as quickly as possible after she performs the act. A high-value treat is anything special or unique that your dog isn’t used to getting in her regular diet.
An example of these can be anything from Wüfers gourmet dog cookies to a piece of cheese or fruit. As long as it’s given to your dog while she’s still partaking in the behavior, your dog should be making the right connections.
3. Make the Most of Your Training Sessions
Dog training takes time and a lot of ongoing efforts. There’s no such thing as overnight progress. You’ll have to be proactive, and it’s also necessary to understand how your dog thinks about these training sessions.
While using a high-value dog treat is a great form of positive reinforcement, you’ll still want to be mindful of timing. As the saying goes, timing is everything! This is even true in dog training.
Check out this blog post for more tips for training your dog!
Do you use training treats when working with your dog?
I’d love to know what works for you — and what doesn’t. Let me know in a comment below or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there!
P.S. Want to make your own training treats? Click here to get a super easy recipe and a free printable!