Do you have a pup that is perfect, but only when you show him a sweet little morsel? You have probably asked yourself, “why does my dog only listen to me when I have treats?”.
That’s a good question! Many owners experience the same situation with their pups. We all know how it goes “fido sit…sit…” pulls out treat fido sits perfectly with full attention on you.
Now, that scenario is more common than what you might think!
There are a few reasons why your dog only listens with treats, from motivation level to the way you are using the treats.
“My Dog Only Listens To Me When I Have Treats!”
So, why does your dog only listen with treats you ask, here are two reasons, let’s begin with the first.
It is no mystery that dogs naturally want to do what is rewarding to them, whether it is playing, chasing, or eating.
When you say that your dog only listens when you have treats, it’s safe to say that your pup is putting his attention on you because he knows that:
- You have treats
- Your pup understands the scenario, meaning that if he listens, he will get that treat you showed him.
That isn’t all bad, though! It’s just a matter of your dog paying attention to whether you have treats or not!
How to Get Your Dog to Listen Without Treats:
To begin, let me start by saying that you will never completely stop rewarding your dog.
That doesn’t mean you always have to have a treat to get a behavior from your dog!
What we are going to do to help you fix this, is by first identifying what we call a dog that has “show me the money syndrome”. This is not a clinical name or diagnosis, but is what we call a dog that won’t do a job unless you show him the money- sound familiar?
Now To Begin:
What we have to understand is the difference between using your dog’s treats to get a behavior and using your dog’s treats to reward a behavior.
Now, I know that might sound very similar, but these are the fine points to stoping the “show me the money syndrome” in your dog.
In most cases, your dog will probably only listen because you show him that you have something for him first, whether it’s waving a treat in the air, or saying you have a treat.
The easy fix to this would be to stop announcing to your dog that you have a treat and stop using that treat as a bribe to get the behavior you want.
What you want to do is hide the treat somewhere on your body, and first get the behavior you want from your dog.
When your dog gives you the behavior you asked for you then “magically” bring out the treat that you hid on your body.
So for instance:
- You get a treat and put it in your pocket (make sure your dog doesn’t see you put the treat in your pocket)
- Get your dogs attention
- Tell your pup to sit
- When he sits, you present the reward
Do you see the difference from when you were using the treat to get your dog to perform the behavior?
In this scenario, you are using the treat to teach your dog that the reward comes from listening to you, whether or not he knows you have a treat.
That is the key to teaching your dog to listen to you without the treat!
This is the art of using treats to get a behavior and using treats to reward a behavior!
Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!