Honey will sit just for the chance to sniff a piece of fuzz that may have rolled over a cookie. She’ll break the sound barrier during her recall just because I’m standing next to the fridge.
But ask Honey to walk through an agility tunnel or stand on a wobbly surface? Time to bring out the filet mignon or line-caught salmon smoked by virgins on an island in the Puget Sound.
If I want Honey to do something hard, I need to match the treat to the trick.
What Tricks are Hard for Your Dog?
Your dog’s energy level, concentration, raw-intelligence, and confidence will affect what tricks he finds harder to learn. Heck, the time of day, weather, and his mood will too.
Before you start a training session, think about what tricks will be hard for your dog.
Don’t bother writing a list, at least not in pen. Because day to day, hour to hour, the list may change.
Honey finds agility features challenging. But it’s less challenging if there’s a cheeky foster dog doing things first and getting her treats.
On a day when we’re working on hard things, I need to bring out high power treats.
What Treats Most Tempt Your Dog?
Honey is definitely food motivated. And she eats some unusual things:
- orange sections
- sweet potatoes
- raw squash
- grapefruit rind (well, she doesn’t eat it so much as she likes to carry it around the yard)
But when we’re working on tricks that involve her jumping up on things or surfaces moving under her feet, I bring out only the most tempting treats:
- peanut butter
- and doggy crack itself, liverwurst
If Honey does something she finds hard, she deserves a particularly yummy treat. I wouldn’t expect her to climb a ladder for a hard cracker. But I must use liverwurst to convince her to put two paws up on the first rung.
Train Your Dog Month Challenge
We’re getting Honey read to live on a sailboat for a week this May.
Not only will the floor move under her, but she’ll have to figure out how to move from a moving boat to a moving dinghy. And she’ll have to get used to relaxing on an angled surface as we sail.
The January Train Your Dog Month challenge is a good excuse to start early to get her ready.
I hope you’ll join us by joining the Train Your Dog blog hop starting Friday, January 31. Write about your training goals and link up with us.
Don’t blog? Post about it on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter and share the link.
And when you’re working on training, don’t forget to match your treats to your tricks. If you want your dog to learn to ride a unicycle, you should at least be springing for Kobe beef.
Unless your dog is a particularly motivated lab. Then you might get away with chick pea training treats.
Your Turn: What treats do you bring out to motivate your dog to learn tough training goals? Heck, what treats do you bring out to motivate yourself to learn something new?