What’s the Best Treat for Your Dog?

The best training is done with a variety of rewards.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,
May 11, 2012

What’s the Best Treat for Your Dog?

Tiny, tasty pieces of food make the most convenient training rewards, and the ones dogs like best -- usually. But for the best training, reward your dog with whatever he wants most at a given moment. It may not always be 

food. For instance, suppose you’re taking a leash walk and an oncoming dog stiffens up and stares at your dog. You ask for your dog’s attention, and he looks at you. A good reward at that moment might be food – but the best reward might be safety from the threatening dog. Thank your dog for his attentiveness not only with a treat but also by moving him away, rather than making him pass the threat at close quarters.

Another example: Your dog sees a squirrel, but instead of chasing it he comes when you call him. Chasing squirrels is predatory, so food can make a great reward. But your dog is also feeling the urge to chase. Amp up that food reward by tossing it, and help him get his ya-yas out. It’s win-win.


Want to raise a happy dog who loves to play and cuddle -- but still comes when called and doesn't chew up your favorite shoes?

Then check out The Dog Trainer’s Complete Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Pet!

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