We’ve got a new series of pet-related training tips to share with you! Check out our recent video by our resident dog trainer, Katya, showing you how to hold a treat in your hand when you’re working with your pup.  Believe it or not, it matters!  This tip can make it easier for you to teach your dog a new behavior or be used as a safety precaution – whether there is food in your hand or not!  When training your dog, it’s helpful to hold the treat in a fist in your hand.  Hiding the treat in your fist, your dog will learn to target on the fist, and not know whether there is food in there.  That means you won’t be teaching him to follow a command because he sees a biscuit!  Using a fist will allow you to pair down the use of treats as reinforcement so that you can use praise and petting to reward your dog sometimes, too.  It’s kinda like playing the slot machine for us.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t – but it’s always worth playing the game as long as it’s a positive experience!  But we don’t win every time, do we?  Still we learn to play the game!  All dog training should be fun and positive for your pooches, making them want to learn from and work with you.

Just imagine if you were to use a treat in your fist when you teach your dog to come to you.  If you practice “here, Rover!” with a treat in your fist and Rover learns to run to you and get a treat from your fist, you will then be able to start phasing out the treats.  You would still be able to use your fist for him to target on and he’d continue to run to it every time!  As you continue to practice calling him you can praise and pet him when he runs over to you, but once in a while surprise him by reintroducing the treat in your fist.  This new “here!” command is good for his safety as well because though we hope Rover never runs out your front door, if he did and you’ve practiced this drill enough times, you can shout “here, Rover!” with that trusted fist and he will run back to you even if you didnt have enough time to grab a treat before chasing him out the door!

Learning how to hold a treat can surely be your best friend when working with your real best friend!  Did you like this article? Click an icon below to share it on Facebook, Twitter, and more!