We use food in puppy training simply because it is very motivating! In order to teach your puppy how to do som
ething we first must have their attention and food is a quick, sure way to get it.
Next I ask, how does your puppy get their food each day? I suggest tossing the food bowl for now. Each morning measure out your puppy’s daily food amount and put it in a ziploc bag. These are your “treats” or rewards for the day. Begin by going through cues your puppy already knows, giving them a few pieces of kibble when they do it correctly.
In addition, pay attention to what your puppy does naturally throughout the day. When you catch them lying down relaxing give them some kibble as a reward. This will reinforce the relaxed behavior and encourage them to do it more often. If you see them chewing an appropriate chew toy, again give them a few pieces of kibble. When you call their name and they look your way, yep! Give them some kibble.
Use their food to reinforce the behaviors you want throughout the day. This way, your dog is fulfilled as they now work for their food which is wonderful mental exercise. You’ve not only found a way to practice great manners and behaviors with your pup, you’ve given them a job to do which is something every dog needs. Training is not always what we think - asking our dogs to do something - sometimes it is about rewarding them even when we don’t ask them to do something. We pay for good behavior and that leads to more good behavior.
If you need help learning how to motivate your dog, my team of trainers and I provide one-on-one coaching sessions via video. These are unlimited as part of our Online Puppy School membership. We love what we do and are happy to help you and your dog achieve success.