Seats and treats, it’s a great learning tool with many valuable uses. I guess you’re wondering what I’m talking about when I say seats and treats. I am referring to a raised platform for a seat and a reward or lure. (typically this can be a treat or a game of tug or a retrieve for certain dogs).
In this case we will use a treat, I prefer to portion out the dogs daily food intake and use some of it for training to avoid over feeding and it also keeps your dog drive and desire up. Dogs are predators and will work for food if they’re hungry. I start by holding the lure or treat in one hand and allowing the dog to sniff and lick in an attempt to get the food. Let them work at it for a bit to build up drive and desire, then say the word “yes” and let the dog take the treat. The word “yes” will be used as the marker that communicates to your dog that they are getting it right. Using some type of raised platform (ex. top of a 2 piece porta-kennel or you can build one out of wood) allows the dog to sniff the treat in our hand while we move it toward our platform. Be patient with your dog as some are leary of new objects. As the dog comes close to the platform place a treat at the edge so your dog may easily get to it. Just before the dog receives the treat say the word “yes” and let them get it.
Continue to put treats further up on the platform until your dog has to put its front paws on the platform to receive the treat. As soon as the paws are on the platform say the word “yes” just before he gets the treat. Continue this procedure until all four paws are on the platform. You will probably need to use your leash to keep the dog from running around the platform in order to get the treat. Once you have your dog easily stepping up onto the platform, give the command “place” as they move upon the platform and then say “yes” to mark the good behavior. If your dog knows the command “sit” you can give that after they are on the platform and then reward with a treat. You can use these steps to teach them place anywhere in your home, like a bed or crate. This is very helpful when someone is at the front door. You can open the door and allow the guest to enter without an over anxious dog to greet them. We will be working on the “down” command in the next newsletter, until next time.