It’s not about training the dog. It’s about training you. In today’s two-minute training, a quick read on how to properly reward your dog.

Dogs work “in the moment.” A lot of us would be happier humans if we could do more of that, but with dogs it creates a challenging issue: How to make the dog realize the reward is associated with a behavior they just finished. If you’re too late, the dog will simply think you’re a wonderful person who gave them a cookie.

Some experienced handlers whom I respect believe that a reward must be delivered within one second for the dog to associate the reward with the behavior.

Some handlers use clickers, but you don’t always have a clicker in your hand. So get in the habit of saying “yessss” or “g’boy” when your dog gives you the correct behavior. Then follow up with the cookie.

You should also practice this verbal “click” in a very soft, almost falsetto voice.

During changed behavior, or even just while the dog is thinking, you can let them know they’re on the right track with a very soft “yesss” or “gooood.” If you speak too loudly, you’ll distract the dog and pull them off-task. But spoken just above the level of an exhaled breath can encourage them “in the moment” and lead them toward the desired behavior.

Then, once they’ve done the whole enchilada, throw a party for the dog.

Stay found!

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