Call Us Now (213) 747-7767 | U.S. Based

From Biting to Behaving: The Ultimate Guide to Treat-Training Your Dog

From Biting to Behaving: The Ultimate Guide to Treat-Training Your Dog

14 minute read

There you are, on your last nerve, as your precious pup treats your arm like a chew toy. Again… 

You've tried everything, and nothing seems to work. "What am I doing wrong?" you wonder. "Can't I just get some peace and quiet around here?"

We feel you, truly.  You're not alone in your frustration. 

But don't give up just yet! 

With a little guidance, you'll soon be one step closer to a well-behaved furball, making both you and your dog happier.

We're here to help you avoid dog training mistakes and discover how to pick the best dog training treats. 

By learning how to train a dog with treats, you'll gain a new level of control and understanding, without having to shell out the big bucks for some fancy course. Trust us, you've got this. 

Ready to turn those biting blues into behaving bliss? 

Let's begin!

Understanding the Basics: How Treat-Training Works and Why It's Effective

So, you're ready to dive into the world of treat-training, huh? Great! Let's get started by understanding the basics of how treat-training works and why it's so effective.

You see, treat-training is all about rewarding good behavior. Dogs are smart, and they learn through association. When you reward your dog for doing something right, they'll remember that good behavior pays off. It's pretty simple, actually!

Now, you might be wondering, "What makes treat-training so effective?" 

Well, for starters, it's based on the principle of positive reinforcement. Dog owners and trainers alike swear by this method. Why? Because it's proven to be more effective and less stressful for both you and your dog compared to other training methods. It's a win-win situation!

When you train your dog with treats, you're teaching them to associate specific actions with rewards. This association helps them learn quicker and retain the lessons longer. But remember, consistency is key! You want to make sure you're rewarding your dog every time they perform the desired behavior, especially in the early stages of training.

Now, we know what you're thinking. "What if I don't want to use treats? Can I still train my dog effectively?" 

The answer is yes! 

How to train a dog without treats is another topic worth exploring. You can use other rewards, such as praise, petting, or even their favorite toy. The key is finding what motivates your dog and using it to reinforce good behavior consistently.

However, treat-training does have its advantages. Many dog trainers and owners find that using treats speeds up the learning process, as they provide a clear and immediate reward for your pup. Plus, let's be honest, who doesn't love a tasty snack?

Alright, so we've covered the basics of treat-training and why it works. Now, let's get you inspired to put this knowledge into action!

Imagine your dog sitting patiently by your side, waiting for your command, and no longer gnawing on your furniture. Pretty great, right? By using treat-training, you can transform your dog's behavior, and you don't need to be a professional dog trainer to do it. All you need is patience, persistence, and the right approach.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Choose high-quality treats. Opt for small, soft treats that are easy to chew and swallow. This way, you can keep the training momentum going without any interruptions.
  • Be timely. Reward your dog immediately after they perform the desired behavior. This will help them make the connection between the action and the reward.
  • Keep sessions short and sweet. Dogs have short attention spans, so it's best to keep training sessions around 10-15 minutes long. You can always do multiple sessions throughout the day.
  • Use a ‘marker.’ A clicker or a consistent verbal cue (like "yes!") can be used to mark the exact moment your dog performs the desired behavior. This helps your dog understand precisely what they're being rewarded for.
  • Gradually fade the treats. As your dog becomes more consistent with the desired behavior, you can start to phase out treats and replace them with praise or other rewards.
  • Stay positive and patient. Training takes time, so be prepared for setbacks and always maintain a positive attitude. Remember, you're building trust and communication with your dog.

So there you have it! By understanding the basics of treat-training and following these tips, you're well on your way to creating a harmonious relationship with your dog. No more feeling helpless or frustrated – you've got the tools to turn your pup into a well-mannered companion.

But as simple as the philosophy behind treat training is, it’s easy to make mistakes.

Common treat training mistakes can result in frustration – or worse – a confused pup.

Below, we’ll cover common treat training mistakes and how you can avoid them with your pup.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Treat-Training Your Dog

treat training small dog

So, you're all set to start treat-training your dog, right? Hold up just a second! 

Before you get started, let's make sure you're aware of some common mistakes that can trip you up along the way. 

Don't worry, we've got you covered.

Read on to discover five common mistakes and how to avoid them, so you can confidently train your dog and avoid any unnecessary setbacks.

  1. Relying too heavily on food treats. It's easy to think that the more treats you use, the faster your dog will learn. But relying solely on food treats can backfire. Over time, your dog may become fixated on the treat in your hand and ignore the actual command. Instead of using treats to lure your dog into performing a behavior, use them as a reward for a job well done.

    How to avoid this mistake: Mix it up! Incorporate other forms of positive reinforcement, such as praise, petting, or playtime. This will keep your dog engaged and motivated throughout training sessions.
  2. Inconsistent training methods. Consistency is crucial in dog training. If you switch up your training methods too often or use different commands for the same behavior, your dog can become confused, making it harder for them to learn.

    How to avoid this mistake: Stick to one training method and use consistent commands. Make sure everyone in your household is on the same page, too. Consistency will help your dog understand what is expected of them more quickly and lead to a successful training experience.
  3. Using treats to stop unwanted behavior. It might be tempting to use treats as a quick fix to stop your dog's unwanted behavior, but this can actually reinforce the negative action. For example, if you give your dog a treat to stop them from barking, they may learn that barking leads to rewards.

    How to avoid this mistake: Instead of using treats to stop unwanted behavior, focus on rewarding your dog for performing the desired behavior. If your dog starts barking, wait until they stop, and then reward them with a treat and praise for being quiet. This will teach them that good behavior earns rewards, not unwanted behavior.
  4. Poor timing during training sessions. Timing is critical when using treats in training sessions. If you don't reward your dog immediately after they perform the desired behavior, they may not make the connection between their action and the reward.

    How to avoid this mistake: Be quick with your rewards! As soon as your dog performs the desired behavior, give them a treat and praise. This will help your dog associate the treat with the correct action, reinforcing the positive behavior.
  5. Overfeeding or using low-quality treats. Overfeeding treats can lead to an overweight pup, and using low-quality treats may not provide the motivation your dog needs during training sessions. If your dog isn't excited about the treats you're offering or is consuming too many calories from treats, their progress may be hindered.

    How to avoid this mistake: Opt for high-quality, nutritious treats that your dog loves. Choose small, soft treats that are easy to chew and swallow, and always keep track of how many treats you're giving during training. Remember to factor in treat calories when calculating your dog's daily food intake to prevent overfeeding.

By steering clear of these common treat-training mistakes, you'll be well on your way to a happier, better-behaved pup.

Remember, the key to successful treat-training is to use positive reinforcement, maintain consistency, and avoid using treats to stop unwanted behavior. 

Now, this raises the question: if you do want to stop unwanted behavior, what should you do? 

How to Incorporate Shock Collar Training with Treat Training

treat training toy breed shock collar

Now that you're a treat-training pro, you might be wondering if there's a way to take your training game to the next level. 

Enter shock collar training. 

Before you raise an eyebrow, hear us out: when used correctly, a shock collar can be an effective and safe way to train your dog in conjunction with treat training. 

In this section, we'll show you how to incorporate shock collar training with treat training to achieve the best results for your furry friend.

First, let's address the elephant in the room: shock collars have gotten a bad rap over the years. 

But the truth is, modern shock collars, like those available at Wiggle Kingdom, are designed to be a humane training tool. 

They offer various settings, including sound, vibration, and shock, giving you the flexibility to customize the collar to your dog's needs. Plus, the remote control works up to 1,000 feet away, making it perfect for long-distance training.

So, why combine shock collar training with treat training? 

The answer lies in the power of balance. Treats are great for rewarding and reinforcing positive behavior, while shock collars for toy breeds can effectively deter unwanted behaviors. 

By using both methods, you're covering all your bases, ensuring that your dog learns not only what they should do, but also what they shouldn't do.

Now, let's dive into some specific examples of how you can use shock collar training alongside treat training to get the best results for your dog.

  1. Counteracting stubborn behavior. Sometimes, puppies or dogs can be stubborn and refuse to follow commands, even when treats are involved. In these cases, using a shock collar can provide a gentle reminder that they need to listen. For example, if your dog refuses to "sit" even after you've tried using treats to lure them, you can give a low-level vibration or shock to gently reinforce the command. Once they comply, be sure to reward them with a treat and praise to reinforce the good behavior.
  2. Stopping unwanted behaviors. There are certain habits, like excessive barking or digging, that can be challenging to stop using treats alone. In these situations, a shock collar can help deter your dog from continuing the unwanted behavior. For instance, if your dog starts barking at the mail carrier, you can use a low-level vibration or shock to interrupt the barking. Once your dog stops barking, reward them with a treat and praise to reinforce the quiet behavior.
  3. Reinforcing basic commands. Sometimes, dogs need a little extra motivation to perform a behavior consistently. By combining treat training with shock collar training, you can strengthen their understanding of basic commands. For example, when teaching your dog to "stay," use treats to reward their compliance initially. If they break the stay command, use a low-level vibration or shock to remind them of the expectation. When they return to the stay position, give them a treat and praise for correcting their behavior.
  4. Off-leash training. One of the most significant benefits of shock collar training is the ability to maintain control over your dog when they're off-leash. This is especially important in situations where your dog might be tempted to ignore your commands, like at the dog park or during a hike. When your dog obeys a command while off-leash, be sure to reward them with a treat and praise. If they disobey, use the shock collar to gently remind them of the expectation, then reward their compliance with a treat.
  5. Building trust and communication. By combining treat training with shock collar training, you're creating a well-rounded training experience for your dog. This balanced approach helps build trust and communication between you and your pup, as they learn to understand your expectations and the consequences of their actions.

When choosing a shock collar for small dogs, it's essential to find one that offers a variety of settings, like those available at Wiggle Kingdom. Their flagship collar features sound, vibration, and shock modes with settings from 1 (low) to 9 (high), allowing you to tailor the collar to your dog's specific needs. And if you prefer a vibrating collar with no shock, Wiggle Kingdom has you covered with their wide range of collars.

Remember, it's crucial to use shock collars responsibly and humanely. Always start with the lowest setting and gradually increase it if needed. Be patient, and monitor your dog's reactions to ensure they're comfortable with the level of correction. As always, consistency is key when using any training methods, including shock collars.

FAQs About Treat Training

How many training treats a day for a puppy?

The number of training treats per day for a puppy can vary based on factors such as their size, age, and activity level. As a general rule, treats should make up no more than 10% of your puppy's daily caloric intake. Be sure to factor treat calories into their overall diet and adjust their meal portions accordingly to avoid overfeeding.

How to train a dog that doesn’t like treats?

If your dog isn't interested in treats, try using other forms of positive reinforcement such as praise, petting, or their favorite toy. Observe what motivates your dog and use that as a reward to reinforce good behavior. Remember, consistency is essential, so be sure to reward your dog every time they perform the desired action.

How to train a dog to take treats gently?

To train your dog to take treats gently, hold a treat in your hand and present it to your dog with a closed fist. Use a command like "gentle" or "easy" to signal that they should take it softly. If your dog tries to snatch the treat or bites your hand, pull it away and repeat the command. Once they approach your hand gently, open your palm and allow them to take the treat. Praise and reward them for their gentle behavior. Repeat this process consistently until your dog consistently takes treats gently without any prompting.

Shock collar vs vibration: Which one is better for training?

The choice between a shock collar and a vibration collar depends on your dog's temperament and your personal training preferences. Vibration collars provide a less intense form of correction, which may be suitable for sensitive dogs or those new to training. Shock collars, when used responsibly, can offer more powerful correction for stubborn dogs or persistent unwanted behaviors. 

Remember, training collars from Wiggle Kingdom allow you to switch between modes. It’s like getting 3 collars in 1! Always start with the lowest setting and gradually increase it if needed, and remember to balance the use of these collars with positive reinforcement.

Can I use human food as treats for dog training?

While some human foods can be used as treats for dog training, it's essential to ensure that they are safe and appropriate for your dog. Stick to small, bite-sized pieces of healthy options like cooked lean meats, vegetables, or fruits that are dog-friendly. Avoid foods that are toxic to dogs or high in fat, sugar, or salt, as these can be harmful to your dog's health. It's also important to consider any allergies or dietary restrictions your dog may have. As a general rule, treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake, so keep portion sizes small and adjust their regular meals accordingly to prevent overfeeding.

« Back to Blog