Giving your dog a smart treat is a positive reinforcement technique. This technique consists of rewarding your four-legged friend when he obeys an order. Although positive reinforcement does not necessarily have to take the form of a snack, as it can also consist of a game or a caress, treats are among the most frequently used and most appreciated rewards.
Giving a dog a treat is in fact a loving gesture. And it is a fundamental component of training. One of the reasons why treats work so well is the dog’s highly developed sense of smell. Dogs can smell food from over 20 metres away and get a fairly clear idea of the main ingredients. However, not all snacks are the same: it is important to know which ones to choose and when to give them.
Dog smart treats: what they are
Rewarding the dog is a positive reinforcement: if the animal does what you ask it to do, giving it a smart treat as a reward not only makes it happy but also acts as an incentive for it to repeat that action in the future. It is essential not to give the smart treat when it has not obeyed an order: the gesture would create confusion, as the dog would not understand the reason for the reward.
Why is it important to give dogs smart treats?
Giving the dog a smart treat is important because it acts as a reward. A reward that, to be such, must only be given when the dog responds to an order (“sit”, “come here”). This is a key action for positive reinforcement, and for making the animal learn a behaviour faster: if it knows that obeying an order and doing what is asked of it will get a tasty snack, our four-legged friend will be enticed to do so.
When to give the dog a smart treat?
To achieve the desired effect, giving the dog the treat at the right time is important. And only when it responds to an order.
Offer him a snack to reward his calmness and obedience, not when he is excited and overstimulated. Always let the dog sniff the smart treat first, but keep it away from him and wait: thanks to his sense of smell, he will be able to recognise it from far away. He does not need to have it under his muzzle! Once he has smelled it, the dog may start to jump (even at you): if he does, use your words and body language to disapprove of his attitude and move slowly back or to the side. Having a little patience will result in a well-behaved dog. After a while, your puppy will begin to understand what he has to do to get the reward. He will sit on the floor and wait, watching you calmly. At that precise moment, hand him the smart treat.
When not to give the dog a treat
Do not confuse smart treats with out-of-order snacks: indeed, the latter should be avoided, as our four-legged friend benefits from a healthy, balanced diet. The smart treat is reserved for training and the dog’s obedience to a command. Choose a tasty food different from what you give him at mealtimes. And opt for something that you can stretch out directly with your hands so that he learns to wait for it calmly and patiently. Also, please do not overdo it with the doses: limit yourself to one smart treat, choosing from the commercially available snacks that are best used as rewards.
Types of dog’s smart treats
From kibble to biscuits, there are many types of smart treats. The important thing is to choose something your dog likes that is of high quality. As they are generally high in calories, snacks must contain first-class ingredients.
When buying treats for your dog, follow the same rules you use when shopping for your family. Look at the ingredients list, and ensure that they are tasty but not equivalent to our ‘junk food’. Also, avoid giving your dog food that is not specially designed for him: many of the foods we humans like can cause allergies and discomfort in animals, even if their sweet tooth tempts them.
Our Dog Jelly Happiness, the first smart treat for your dog with a chewy texture, supplements his diet with nutritional principles such as vitamins, minerals, botanical extracts and selected nutrients for specific needs. Free of added sugar, convenient, pocket-sized and in single-dose packaging, they contain magnesium and valerian, ginkgo biloba and passion flower extracts to promote everyday mood in the animal and its physiological relaxation. Very useful in for journeys or travel by car, plane, train or stressful situations (fireworks, etc.)
Play&Gnam, on the other hand, is an egg with a surprise that combines the moment of play and the moment of a prize. Dogs have fun because the egg is thrown and, without it breaking, they can chase it as it rolls; moreover, once grabbed, the cereal-covered wafer shell hides a tasty Parmesan butter biscuit. A tasty reward, but also a healthy one: you can offer your dog up to 2-3 of these a day, even as a treat during training.
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