How Often and How Much Should Your Puppy Be Rewarded?

Updated: February 20, 2019 at 9:39 pm, Author: admin

Even with proper techniques, positive reinforcement and delicious, healthy treats, dogs of all ages can be just as stubborn and hard to handle as children. This is why you should be very cautious with how you handle the training of your dog.

bully stick in dogs mouth

How to Use Positive Reinforcements to Correctly Train your Dog

According to professional trainers, dogs should only be positively reinforced during times of submission or calm. If your dog is hyper, or overly excited, treats or positive reinforcement should not be administered until a state of calm is achieved.

Trainers suggest holding the treat away from the mouth and nose: first, because the dog can smell from twenty-five feet away, and second because the closer you get to your dog’s mouth, the more excited your dog will be. Remember not to give your dog treats or any other kind of positive reinforcement when he/she is in an excited state of being or the pattern of learning will be altered.

Treat Ingredients

Treat ingredients can be a crucial part in the training and positive reinforcement process.  Not only will dog treats need to be healthy for your dog, they also need to be something your dog likes, for obvious reasons.

Actual ingredients found in your dog’s treats should follow the same general rules of the food you should be purchasing for your family. Only purchase food and treats with ingredients  you can pronounce and recognize. There will be exceptions, such a beef liver and beef trachea – not normally meant for human consumption.

Look into foods that are bad for your dog: such as chocolate and other foods popular with humans that could make your dog sick.

Of course we always recommend our bully sticks for dogs because they’re an all natural and healthy treat.

Check with your dog’s vet to get more information on healthy treats for your best pooch friend.

How Often Should Treats be Given?

Because it is better to give treats than table scraps and other human foods, your dog should not receive more than 10% of his/her food from treats.  If dogs are given treats too often, it could contribute to overeating, weight gain, pickiness, begging, and finicky behaviors.
Another important part of the positive reinforcement behaviors is the size of the treat. The size can help determine how long your dog will be on a break, before training resumes. If the treat is too big, the dog will expect a longer break for consumption and may have  trouble continuing without distraction.

While in Training

Treating your dogs while in training, can be a difficult balance of satisfaction and frustration for all involved. Timing is a big issue when it comes to training effectively. Here are some steps to determine how to be most effective when training your dog.

  • Use short commands (one word commands are the best) -most dogs don’t grasp the understanding of complex sentences.
  • Be consistent – everyone that works with the dog should be using the same words, so that he can more effectively understand what to listen for
  • Use a clicker – a clicker is effective for teaching correct behavior. When a clicker is used, the dog will begin to associate the clicking noise and the word with a specific sound.
  • Reward him for good behavior only – such as chewing a treat or toy (instead of a household item), sitting to be petted, before being let outside, or at mealtime, coming on your first command, etc.
  • Continuous reinforcement for good behavior is important as well. Every time your dog learns something new, give him a treat, play time, or belly rub to reinforce this behavior. Continue doing so until your pet has learned and no longer needs the treat to behave well.


Remember that dogs are trained best with positive reinforcement; whether it be through treats, happy, high pitched words, belly rubs, or even play time. The overwhelming majority of dogs respond best through treats involving food products; however, no matter which type of positive reinforcement you choose, remember to praise often but to not over do it. Be mindful of what your puppy seems to enjoy and do your best to keep him calm.

Keep these tips in mind and your dog will be trained like a champ in no time!

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