Dog accepting a treat

Treats are a great way to reinforce commands, reward good behavior, and spoil your furry child. But not all treats are made the same. Here are some helpful facts about treats you can apply at home:

Type of treats

High quality, tasty treats produce the best results. Your treat should be small in size when reinforcing good behavior – a full size bone given every time they successfully follow a command or task will lead to full bellies, and effectively, lead your dog to not respond when new commands come around. Small treats limit calorie intake, which helps to maintain your dog’s weight.

Timing of treats

At first, give your dog a treat every time they perform a new behavior. You can scale back as your dog gets used to these tasks. Remember: delivery of treats is critical! If you ask your dog to sit, and they do so, don’t go looking for the treat, then. Have it ready so as not to miss your window of opportunity for rewarding good behavior.

Beyond treats

While treats are a great way to encourage your dog to follow your commands, you also want them to follow even when you don’t have a tasty morsel. Start verbally praising your pup and providing a pet on the head before you give a treat – this will show that your praise is even better than a snack!

-Written by Colleen Demling, Dogtopia’s Canine Behaviorist. With over 30,000 hours and 15 years of HANDS ON dog training experience, Colleen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviorist. She is a frequent contributor to local and national media including Yahoo, The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day and many more. Colleen was a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year by Women in the Pet Industry Network. She was also named a 2015 Woman of Influence and one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Pet Age Magazine. Learn more: