by Janine Brownlees // July 2017


At our dog school classes we are all about positive reinforcement which means rewarding and motivating with whatever your dog enjoys, toys work well but the biggest pleasure for most dogs are tasty treats……sounds simple!

However various questions pop up again and again...

Why do I need treats?

Imagine your boss asked you to do a different job, and it was out of office and with people you didn’t know. Wouldn’t you be happier to do it if he promised you a nice lunch out in return? Motivation and reward is very important especially when learning something new.

What kind of treats should I bring?

Human food tends to work best in class. Plain biscuits and kibble are probably ok at home but in class where there are new people, dogs, smells etc a higher value treat is usually required – the list is endless! Sausages, cheese, chicken, ham, liver, livercake (search the internet for recipes), hotdogs, even chopped up beefburgers!

Won’t my dog get fat?

We encourage owners to chop up their treats super small so they give get lots! A piece of sausage the size of your fingernail could easily be cut into four bits. Maybe on class days you could give your dog half portion breakfast/dinner or even switch them to the ‘lite’ version of their food if you are really concerned about their weight. It is even a good idea to mix your human treats with some of their usual kibble so the smells mix and now their dinner biscuit has the scent of cheese and you can use this to train.

How much will I need to bring?

Most owners on week one of their class don’t bring enough, it’s ok! We always have a supply on hand and a full treat pouch to help out.

My dog doesn’t want my treats anymore!

Variety is the spice of life…bring a selection of treats so you can switch if they get bored. Also check your sizes, if your dog is full up half way through class cut them smaller next time.

My dog would rather play with me than eat!

That’s ok! Not all dogs are food motivated. A game of tuggy or a nice stroke is enough to reward and motivate some dogs, we will help you in class to use this to your advantage too.

We hope these guidelines help you to understand your dog a little better but we thought we would finish on a fun game you can try at home...

  1. Place a different treat  in each hand and make a fist
  2. Let your dog have a good sniff at each hand.
  3. Open your fingers and see which food your dog chooses to eat first.
  4. Bingo! You now know which he prefers.

Now get creative with those treats. It’s hard to forget the little Labrador who came to class and worked her socks off for... WOTSITS!!