How to maximize the use of food treats – Using food in Dog Training Part 2

Does it seem like your dog only listens when you’ve got food for them?  Seems like you’re bribing them to do what you want instead of rewarding them doesn’t it?

Well the good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way and the solution certainly isn’t complicated… as you’re going to see.

Here’s four very simply tricks that I’ve picked up from leading dog trainer, Doggy Dan.  These tips have transformed my own way of training and motivating my dog.  I’ve seen this in action so I know it works.

  1. The Jackpot:

The first secret is simply this… Dogs are far more motivated and excited by food rewards when the size of the reward varies.  In other words it’s much better to give your dog a couple of smaller treats followed by a big one than just to give small ones all the time.  I know it sounds so simple and yet I can promise you that 95% of dog owners are giving their dog the same boring treat every time!

That’s right, the surprise is everything! And here’s why…

How many times have you been more excited when you are told that you are going to get a present than when you actually open it up and get the present?  Think about it.  When people play the lottery and buy a ticket the excitement builds as soon as you have your ticket… Then the excitement continues to increase right up to the point when the numbers are announced.  Then you realize that you’ve NOT won the $24 Million Jackpot…maybe next time.

Still we buy a ticket the following week.  Why?  Because we are hoping for the jackpot of course!
It’s the small chance that we may win something really big that keeps people buying tickets again and again. And it’s the same for your dog.  If you very occasionally call your dog over and give him the biggest reward of his life they will remember if for a long time.  Your training will probably go onto turbo boost performance for many weeks.

Doggy Dan tells a story he calls the “The story of the magic sausage” about a man who used to feed his dog off the BBQ. Not surprisingly his dog sat by it begging for food every time that it was fired up. The recommendation was simply this… Never feed your dog from the BBQ, but later in the day, when the BBQ is turned off and everything cleared away call your dog to you when they are not expecting it. Then as soon as they arrive out of the blue give him a whole sausage.

Your dog will look at you and think…“WOW! You can produce sausages out of thin air!”

The magic sausage story is a great example of using a jackpot to motivate a dog to another level.  You will not need to use many to get them second guessing every time you call them if it’s going to be a big treat.  The result: They will be totally motivated and come running every time.

Of course a whole sausage may be too much if you only have a tiny dog, but you get the idea.  This trick makes the use of food far more exciting, and motivating for your dog than the old “one dry biscuit, one dry biscuit, one dry biscuit” approach.

2. What is even better to a dog than one big sausage?

Now the second secret to using food to motivate your dog actually builds upon secret number one which is the jackpot.  That’s where we use a whole sausage as a reward.

Now I am actually going to suggest that you make that jackpot of one whole sausage even more appealing to your dog.  How could you possibly do that without giving the dog two sausages I hear you ask!

The solution is this… Chop the sausage into a handful of nice pieces, maybe 5 or 6.

Now when your dog gets the Jackpot, feed the pieces to him, one after another as if all his Christmas’ have come at once.

Your dog will not believe his luck! To him, getting 5 or 6 pieces is far more rewarding than getting one whole sausage which they probably will swallow in a couple of mouthfuls.

So now you know the answer to the question what is even better to a dog than a whole sausage? Answer: A whole sausage chopped into five or six pieces…

3. Not all food is created equal:

Would you like Steak or Pizza for dinner?  Dogs, like people, all have their favorite food treats and if you want your dog to perform like a rock star then find out which ones they love!

There is a huge difference in performance between a dog who’s totally motivated to win the reward compared to the same dog when they are only half semi-interested.  So often that motivation is directly related to whether you are using the same dry dog food that they ate for breakfast or some new smelly, tasty treats.

Or maybe it’s chopped up hot dogs, or pieces of cheese.  We’ve had particular success with Cheerios, and dried sweet potato.  Of course some of these fattier high end treats may not be especially good for your dog in large quantities, so as with our own diet the volume needs to be monitored.  The flip side of this is that since these top end treats are not going to be given out very often, so have some fun.

4. Random rewards:

Most important is to keep in mind the end goal that you are going to fade the food treats out over time… until they become very random rewards.  Don’t forget that from Part 1!


So there you go!  Four ways to maximize the use of food when training your dog.  I hope you found some ways to really get your dog excited during your training sessions.  It’s best to use those high value treats (like sausages) when you’re trying to solidify a new trick.  If you have enjoyed these, then I think you’ll just love Doggy Dan’s approach to dog training, I know we certainly do.  Especially when you actually see it all in action with his videos.  There are now over 250!
If you are interested in one of the best dog training methods around at the moment, check out his site here:  The Online Dog Trainer

That’s all for now.  Enjoy training with your new empowering knowledge at your finger tips and stay tuned for more in the next few days!

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