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Optimize Your Training with your Dog - SpiritDog Training LLC

Optimize Your Training

Pick a place where your dog can learn comfortably: you might need to put away other pets, turn off the TV and ask family members to not disturb: maximum concentration will give you maximum results!

Figure out your dog’s most valued reward and use it to your advantage.

Make your sessions short and frequent: 1 minute 3 times a day is plenty!

Use cues very rarely. Do not name behaviors until they are really good. Doing otherwise will confuse your dog and poison your cues.

Never get upset with your dog. If you feel frustrated because he seems to learn too slow, give him a treat and try again later. They can read our emotions very well and will get less enthusiastic about working with you otherwise.

Be a cheerleader: the more you reward and the happier you are with your dog, the more he will like learning and the faster he will learn.

The Importance of Great Rewards

Rewards are the things the motivate your dog to engage and train with you. They are the dog’s PAYMENT.

The more you pay your dog for working with you, the better his work will be. Better rewards make for easier training!

It is therefore VERY important to spend some time finding the perfect reward for your dog.


Rewards that I recommend to avoid because of not high enough value:

  • Kibble.
  • Low-end store bought treats (often contain too much additives that make them less tasty).
  • Some dogs get demotivated by a mixture of low and high value rewards. Try whether your dog responds better to only high value rewards.


High value rewards to try out:

  • Human food (often much more affordable then “real” dog treats!): hotdogs, bacon, different kinds of cheese, ham, cooked chicken, cooked liver, steak…
  • High-end dog treats like freeze-dried liver, duck and sweet potato, freeze-dried chicken etc.
  • Home-made treats: try making your own cookies by baking.