At the beginning of training, it’s absolutely okay to use treats to get the behaviour you want. Over time, you should wean your dog off them but continue offering praise and affection. Not every successful command should be followed by a treat, so your dog also is motivated without them. So what is the correct way to fade treats successfully?
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How to Fade Treats
Treats invisible to the dog: pocket, table and so on. Perform a well-learned exercise, give a command, click and only then show the food.
Reduce the value of the treat. e.g. after a poor performance, praise only verbally, normal performance give a treat, when your dog is very fast and precise give a jackpot ☺️- lots of treats.
Even when their performance is wonderful, randomise the intervals and treats you give, i.e. sometimes it is just verbal praise, sometimes a little treat, sometimes a jackpot.
The reward can also be a walk, your attention, play, permission to jump out of the car, go through the door, etc. So before letting your dog off the leash or through the door, ask them to do a few tricks and reward with real-time rewards.
When using real-time rewards, it is essential to be consistent and clear about the reward criteria. For instance, if you are rewarding your dog with a walk, make sure they understand that they have to perform the command correctly before receiving the reward. Additionally, it’s crucial to use the appropriate tone when giving commands to your dog. The tone should be assertive, confident, and consistent to ensure that your dog understands what is expected of them. Finally, it’s important to remember that dogs have different learning speeds and personalities. Some dogs might take longer to learn commands, while others might learn faster. Therefore, you should be patient and persistent during the training process. You can also seek the help of a professional dog trainer if you encounter any challenges during the training process.
Overall, successful dog training requires patience, consistency, and a willingness to adapt your approach as needed. By using a combination of treats, real-time rewards, and positive reinforcement, you can help your dog learn new behaviors, overcome bad habits, and become a well-behaved member of your family.