Training Tip: Never underestimate the power of tasty treats!
Since graduating from my apprenticeship program, I’ve been able to do a lot of dog training at my job at the doggie daycare. I have been loving every second of it and appreciate that I have a place where I can do what I love. I’ve recently worked with a dog doing a board and train program. His name is Dexter, he is a shepherd mix and I’ve fallen completely in love with him! He is full of energy, is always happy to see you and tries hard when he is able to focus. The thing about Dexter is he is very easily distracted! You know the dog in the movie UP!? Ya… he is that dog times ten. SQUIRREL (love that movie)! I mean, we do train in the doggie daycare yard which is covered in the scent of many many dogs so you can’t really blame the guy! He wants to smell every corner of the yard, and fence, and yard equipment, and walls and doors… should I continue? For two days I struggled to get him to even glance in my direction, let alone perform a basic sit which left me very discouraged. Finally, I tried a new type of dog treat to see if it was something he didn’t like about the other two kinds I had offered him. These treats are 100% dehydrated meat. As a vegetarian I was a little grossed out at the concept but he LOVED them! Just the simple act of
switching his treats gained me all of his attention. He excelled in the rest of the training program and was eager to do anything I asked of him. I sent his mom home with a bag of the treats so I could be sure he would continue working with her!
Never underestimate the power of a tasty treat! Owners often label their dogs as stubborn and unwilling to learn. They get frustrated and yank on the leash in an attempt to gain their dog’s attention. My instructor put the treat concept into perspective for me one day. We work for money. We go to work every day and ask for a paycheck in return. Why should dogs be any different? They work for some sort of reward and if that reward is not enough they may be less likely to work for it! This isn’t true of all breeds (cough cough Golden Retrievers) but I’d say it’s very common for a dog to give up working if there is nothing in it for them!
So if you are working with your dog and are struggling to grab their attention. Try a tastier treat!