Treat 'Em Right!
Treats are used as a reward when your dog does the right thing, i.e., what you wanted. Or to help shape the behavior, that means to lead the dog towards doing what you've asked.
For example, if you are training a down and your dog gets its front paws down but its tail is still in the air, you could start by treating for getting half way down. After he or she does that perfectly a few times, don't give a treat until the dog is completely down.
Give a treat every time your dog does what is asked. If he has performed a behavior you've had a difficult time getting, throw a party and give several treats at once. Don't forget timing is important. So have those treats handy and treat as quickly as you can.
Hot dogs make great treats as does string cheese. Just pull off small pieces.
When you are in an active training mode, your dog will get a lot of treats. So it is a good idea to use treats that aren't junk food and you only need to give a very small treat.
Here's the mix I like to use. Feel free to adapt to what your dog prefers. However, keep in mind that lots of liver treats can cause diarrhea.
One half kibble
One quarter Natural Balance dog food rolls (they come in lamb, turkey or beef) cut into small pieces
One quarter beef strips cut into small pieces
Mix it together and store a few days supply in the refrigerator. You can add fresh roll cubes or beef strips every day. The kibble will smell delicious stored with the other two ingredients.
Low fat string cheese in small individual packets are another great treat to add some variety. Just use one small packet and pull off very small pieces when treating.
You may also want to measure out your dog's ration of kibble for the day, subtract some to allow for the calories in the other ingredients. Then add the other two ingredients to the mix and hand feed most of your dog's food for the day while training.
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