All of us know someone who has a dog that listens only when they are shown some food. Or what’s even worse a dog that doesn’t even listen when treats are offered to him. Maybe that describes the situation between your dog and you?
At times it really does appear that the only way your dog is going to listen to you is if you bribe him with a treat, and that doesn’t feel right to you. Fortunately it doesn’t need to be that way at all and the solution definitely isn’t too complicated, as you are about to see.
The following are four simple tricks that I have learned from Doggy Dan, one of the leading dog trainers. They make a lot of sense and have helped to transform the way I motivate and train my dog. I have seen all of this in action, so I really know that it works.
1. The Jackpot
Here is the first secret for you. Dogs are a lot more excited and motivated by food rewards whenever the size of this reward varies. What that means is that it is a lot better to offer your dog a few smaller treats and then follow it up with a larger one than just giving him small treats all of the time. That may sound really simple, but 95% of all dog owners give their dogs the same exact treat each and every time. That can get boring for a dog.
The key is to surprise you dog, and here is the reason why…
Think about how excited you have been in the past when someone told you that you were going to get a present compared to when you actually got to open a gift up? Just think about that for a minute. When individuals play the lottery and purchase a ticket, their excitement starts to build as soon as they get the ticket. Their excitement keeps building all the way until the numbers get announced. Then they realize that they haven’t won the $25 Million Jackpot. Better luck next time.
However, we still purchase a ticket the next week. But why is that?
Because we are still holding out to get that jackpot! There is still a small chance that we could end up winning something very big. That is why people keep purchasing tickets over and over again. The same thing is true for your dog. If on occasion you were to call your dog and then give him the largest reward he had ever received in his life, then he would remember that for a very long time. For many weeks, your training probably would go into turbo mode performance for several weeks.
There is a story that Doggy Dan tells about the “magic sausage.” The story is about a man who fed his dog from the BBQ. Predictably, the dog would sit in front of it and beg for food each time the grill was lit up. He recommends that you don’t ever feed your dog off the BBQ. However, later on, after your BBQ has been turned off and you’ve cleared everything away, then call your dog when he isn’t expecting it. Then out of the blue give your dog a whole sausage.
That will cause your dog to think you can pull sausages right out of the air!
This magic sausage story is an excellent example of utilizing a jackpot to get your dog motivate to a higher level. You won’t need to use as many treats in order to get him second guessing each time you call him whether he is going to get a big treat or not. This will result in him being completely motivated and running to you every single time.
If you have a small dog, an entire sausage might be too much. However, I’m sure you get the concept. The trick makes using food a lot more motivating and exciting for your dog compared to giving him one dry biscuit after another approach.
2. So what could your dog possibly think was better than one large sausage?
The second big secret about using food as a way to motivate your dog builds on the jackpot, which is the first secret. That is where a whole sausage is used as a reward.
What I am going to suggest to you now is to make the jackpot of an entire sausage even more exciting for your dog. You may be wondering how you can possibly accomplish that unless you give him two sausages!
Here is the solution. Chop up the sausage into 5 or 6 good sized pieces.
When it’s time to give your dog the Jackpot, give him one piece of sausage in his mouth, and then another and another. It’s like having Christmas all at one time.
Your dog won’t be able to believe how lucky he is. To give 5 or 6 pieces to your dog is a lot more rewarding than receiving an entire sausage, which he probably would just swallow in a few mouthfuls.
So you now know what the answer is to the question of what a dog thinks is even better than an entire sausage. The answer is a whole sausage that has been cut into five to six pieces.
3. Not all foods are created equal.
Do you like Chocolate Pudding or Lemon Meringue pie the best? Dogs, just like people, have their favorite kinds of food treats. So if you would like your dog to perform at even higher levels, figure out what he likes best.
The difference in performance is huge between a dog who is completely motivated to win a reward compared to when he is only semi-interested at best. The motivation is frequently related to whether you are giving your dog an exciting new treat or the same old dry biscuits that he eats all of the time.
It isn’t just all about dry biscuits. It’s important for you to think beyond the square. As an example, does your dog like big dog biscuits with peanut butter spread on them, or does he get excited over cheese, bacon, sausage or chicken? Another thing you can try is healthy commercial treats. However, some of the fattier treats might not be very healthy for your dog if consumed in large quantities, so you will need to monitor the quantity. On the other hand, since you won’t be giving out these high end treats that often, you can afford to splurge a little.
4. Random Rewards
What is most important is to remember what the end goal is, which is you are going to be phasing out food treats over time. Ultimately they will be random rewards.
So there you have it. Four different methods for maximizing using food when you are training your dog. If you liked these tips, you’ll love the approach that Doggy Dan takes to dog training, particularly when you see everything in action with the videos he has. There are currently over 250 videos!
If you are interested in finding out more about the best dog training techniques that are currently available, check out Doggy Dan’s site here.