- Use small treats
It’s easy to overdo it with treats, particularly while you are training. Help ensure your dog maintains his weight by using small treats or even pieces of treats.
- Reward a calm-submissive state
Remember, you are reinforcing whatever behavior preceded the treat, so don’t unintentionally reward hyperactive behavior. Wait until your dog is in the right frame of mind to give it.
- Don’t bribe your dog
Here’s the situation you want to avoid. Your dog learns how to do a command… but he’ll only do it when he knows there’s a treat waiting for him at the end of it. Treats are great for initially getting your dog’s attention, but eventually you should rely on them less and less. Instead, share reinforcement by giving your attention or affection.
- Reward each step towards the desired behavior
Many people make the mistake of trying to get their dog to perform the entire task before giving the treat… and become frustrated when it doesn’t work. Instead, you want to reward progress — no matter how small — towards the ultimate goal. Often in the beginning, that progress is accidental on the part of your dog.
- Try different treats
Another common problem with food-oriented obedience training is your dog’s taste. It’s possible the treat you’re using simply isn’t delicious enough to be exciting and motivate the behavior you desire. Test out different healthy dog treats until you find one that gets your dog’s attention.