Whether it's for good behavior or just because you want to treat your dog to something special, everyone loves to give their dog a treat. Surprisingly, there are right and wrong ways to give your special companion treats.
One of the most common ways of giving a dog a treat is by holding it way high up in the air, so the dog has to stand on his back legs or jump in order to get it. While this may be fun and entertaining, there could be some negative consequences that come with it. There is a chance that when trying to jump and grab the treat out of your hand the dog may accidentally nip your finger. This isn't done on purpose either. Dogs have less control and vision of their teeth when they are jumping to grab a treat. Also, this may teach your dog that things, such as jumping, are good. This can make it harder to control your dog from jumping in other situations like greeting people.
The best way to give your dog a treat is to hold the treat at the dog's level, where he doesn't have to jump or snap to get it. If you still have problems with your dog accidentally nipping your finger after doing this, try offering the treat with a flat, open hand. This will keep your fingers away from the treat and make it safer to give to your dog.
There is also a behavior factor that comes into play when giving your dog treats. When you give your dog a treat you are rewarding him for whatever he was doing before the treat was given. For example, if you tell your dog to fetch and he brings the stick back to you, giving him a treat will teach him that retrieving the stick means getting a treat. On the flip side, don't give your dog a treat just to distract him from doing something. Giving your dog a treat when he is pawing at you or barking will just teach your dog that those actions mean reward and your dog will continue to do that more and more. Instead, only reward your dog when they deserve it and when they are showing good behavior.
People also often wonder how often they should reward their dog and how big of a treat to give their dog when rewarding him. Rewarding in multiple smaller pieces of treats will usually work better when teaching your dog, rather than just giving your dog one large treat. This way you are able reward your dog multiple times before you have to stop giving him treats. Rewarding your dog with too many treats could put him at risk for obesity and stomach upset.
Rewarding your dog can be fun for both yourself and your beloved canine. Just make sure that when you are giving your dog a treat, you are doing it the right way. Think about the dog's behavior before giving him a treat and think about ways you can change your tactics in order to better teach your dog.