Remember that song: It Aint What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It? (Ah yes, 1982 Bananarama!) Well, when it comes to giving your dog food treats – to reinforce his or her behaviour – how you deliver the food is important, i.e. the way that you do it matters! In fact, your delivery style makes a big difference to your dog’s training. Smarter delivery can boost your dog’s focus and connection with you… and it’s fun too! Here are 5 tips to spice up your treat delivery:
Most dogs love chasing. So, bowling the treats equals extra excitement for Fido; it means he gets to chase, catch and kill the ‘prey’ – the sausage or cheese or whatever you’re using! Much more interesting than just doling out a treat from your pocket. Here’s a video to show you how to bowl your way to better behaviour:
Can your dog catch a treat? If so, yippee! You can capitalise on that. Throw a treat in the air and let Rover show off his jump ‘n’ pounce skills as he catches that treat. Warning: The human usually needs to refine their throwing skills to make it super successful (and reinforcing)! But I’m sure Fido will be delighted to help you practise your skills!
Dogs have incredible noses – they love sniffing! So rather than popping the treat into Rover’s mouth, break it into little pieces and smush them in the ground or scatter them around and let Rover put his sniffing skills to work. Or, you can take it a stage further and become Rover’s hunting buddy and help him discover the treats.
Treats In Trees
“Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees” – true. BUT treats just might! Here’s a video of Gerry and Olive demonstrating the ‘Treats In the Tree’ game. To play all you do is smear, smudge, dollop or delicately balance treats in the trunk or branches of a tree. Or you can sass it up by asking your dog to “Wait!” (while you put the treats in the tree) then let Fido go hunt for them as a reward.
Ooo and if you want to make giving treats less messy, get a Food Tube. I put all sorts in these tubes from Aatu (wet) dog food, which I then water down to make extra refreshing on a walk (this is what is in the blue food tube in this video) ; or you could a cheesy option eg Philadelphia (other brands also available!); or even a pate – anything that can easily be squeezed (ie not lumpy). The only limit is your imagination … and of course, your dog’s taste buds! Enjoy – and do send us a video or pic of your dog playing these games.
For more information about these training games or if you’d like help training your dog or puppy, go to www.JoyfulDogs.co.uk