Dog training is basically an art form. It shapes your dog’s characteristics over time through a reward system for its good behaviors. This is highly based on psychology and works similarly to humans as well. Although the concept is the same, the execution of the tactic is much different for us than it is for our pet dogs.
Much like how a good parent knows how to reward the child when good behavior is shown. It motivates the child to do it more as a reward gets linked to that brain activity. It works surprisingly similarly with the dogs, and while almost anyone can do it, it takes time, expertise, and know-how to be successful.
Since dogs all come with their own personalities and quirks, it’s essential to utilize dog training to transform your pooch into a man’s best friend.
There are a lot of ideas and concepts when it comes to dog training, but most use some form of positive reinforcement. This means you encourage Fido’s good behavior with something they’re excited about, like a delicious treat or positive attention.
However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Timing truly is everything, especially when it comes to our furry friends. In this guide, we’ll explain the best timing to include treats in your dog training and how the reward system works.
Understanding Dog Training Connections
When you’re training your dog, you’re helping them make connections in their brain. They’ll come to associate good behavior or commands with a positive form of reinforcement. For example, if you give your dog a treat every time they sit on command, they’ll associate sitting with the yummy treat.
The same goes for when your dog is doing something unwanted, like chewing on a shoe. It would be best if you interfered at the right time, so they connect the behavior with negative reinforcement. With time your dog will understand what people like and dislike and what is rewarding and the activities that are not.
You should find a way to discipline your dog every time it does something bad by verbally showing disapproval of a bad deed committed by your pet. There’s no need to be very harsh, however. A simple sign of disapproval will go a long way.
And as mentioned above, timing matters deeply. If you’re too unclear in your timing, your dog might night make the right connection. It might not understand why the reward was given or why a sign of disapproval is being shown.
While you still might make some progress in your training efforts, this will slow down your progress and might even make you go backward. When it comes to training your pooch, you want to be as precise as possible with your timing. In doing so, you’ll help your dog learn quickly and with less stress for everyone!
The Best Timing When Training Your Dog
So, what exactly is the “perfect” timing when you’re training your dog? The answer is to give your dog the high-reward treat as quickly as possible, after they have successfully completed the command, to reinforce the positive behavior during training, this is crucial. Since you have to reward your pet dog when he still recognizes the task he just did. After a few times, it will become a habit for him to expect a treat for doing a specific action, and it will do it regardless of whether a treat is given or not.
Remember, while this isn’t always possible, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that your dog will do a new behavior, and when you proceed to reward him for, he will associate the reward with the most recent behavior.
Dogs don’t have the same attention span as humans. If your dog begins to present a different behavior, you’re not reinforcing the same behavior anymore.
Let’s say you’re teaching your dog to lie down. Fido lays down on cue, but he stands up again before you give the treat. If you treat him after he’s already stood up, he might begin to associate the treat with standing up, negating the point of the command where you wanted him to lie down instead. See why this might be confusing to the dog?
You’ll want to give your dog a high-value treat as soon as possible. A high-value treat is anything special or unique that your dog isn’t used to getting in his diet. An example of these can be anything from Wüfers gourmet dog cookies to a piece of cheese or fruit.
As long as it’s given to your dog while they’re still partaking in the behavior, your dog should be making the right connections.
Make the Most of Your Dog’s Training Sessions
Dog training takes time and a lot of ongoing efforts. The thing to note here is that things like these take time. It takes time to create a new habit, and it takes time to create new neural connections. There’s no such thing as overnight progress.
You’ll need to be proactive, and you’ll also need to understand how your dog thinks about these training sessions. The trick is to keep things simple and concise. First, start with the basics and then move your way to the more difficult training.
With time you will understand how to be more efficient, and your pet dog will likewise get a better understanding of the patterns of rewards.
The reward does not always have to be a treat. There are other ways to reward your dog. To make a positive reinforcement, you can pet him, hug him and pat his head (if he likes it) after he follows a command. Sometimes you can mix things up concerning how you choose to reward your dog, but treats do work very well.
While using a high-value dog treat is a great form of positive reinforcement, you’ll still want to be mindful of timing. As the saying goes, timing is everything! This is even true in dog training.