Being calm around food rewards

Treats! The tasty reward that we use with our dogs to pay them for their hard work.

We work so hard on getting the timing of rewarding perfect. Cue - behaviour - marker - reward. But what about the process of recieving the treat?

Rewarding calm behaviour is essential when it comes down to dog training, specifically assistance dogs who need to be calm in many situations.

The process of this is very simple, whilst training sit with your dog and practice rewarding after your marker.

Sit down in a calm environment, you may wish to make this public access settings in the future

Ask your dog to lie down or settle

Encourage your dog to calm down and look for any signs of calming (putting head down, sighing, relaxed face, focus on you)

Spend a few minutes saying you’re marker “Yes!” Whenever your dog is calm or showing signs of calming down and rewarding afterwards

Calmness = reward

Once they understand this concept you can begin to implement this in real life. E.g you’re practicing some heel cues with your dog and they become too excited and snappy. You spend 2 minutes practicing rewarding calm behaviour and continue the heel practice.

If your dog is prone to snapping the treat out of your hand. Try turning your hand around so your palm is facing your dogs nose until you are ready to give the treat, then turn your hand around to open the treat so your dog takes the treat calmly instead of jumping up to snap.

Another thing to consider is that your dog may be snapping the treat because they are over stimulated. I see this a lot when the dog is conflicted and wants the reward desperately but is also fearful or over excited.

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