Removing the Treats
PREREQUISITE: Your dog should be sitting whenever you ask him in a low distraction environment and staying in place until you release him.
If your dog is not doing this, please do not proceed to the next step. Go back to the previous lesson on sit and practice some more.
- Treat pouch, pocket, or hidden container within reach
- 15 Index cards or our sample reward cards (if your dog likes everything we have chosen)
- Toys and other reinforcements (as listed on your reward cards)
TRAINING ENVIRONMENT: Start in the least distracting (most boring) place in your home.
RECOMMENDED TREAT POSITION: Toss to reset behavior.
- Create your reward cards. Sample cards can be found here.
- Customize these to your dog’s personal preferences.
- Shuffle your cards well.
- On the top card is the reward you will use when your dog sits when asked. For example, the card may say “Praise and pet”.
- Ask your dog to sit.
- When he does, do whatever the card says (so in our example, praise and pet your dog).
- Flip to the next card, and repeat until you’ve gone through the entire deck.
- The next time you pick up the deck, shuffle it well, and repeat the exercise.
- After three or four days, set one of the “Click and treat” cards aside. You will probably still need it for other behaviors, but you are done with it for this one.
Go through your deck of cards three times each day.
AT THE END OF THIS STEP:
You should be using fewer treats in your training without any loss in response to the “sit” cue.
My dog has quit sitting when asked.
- You have weaned the treats too quickly.
- Put the click and treat cards back in your card deck.
- Remove one after several days.
- Wait four days and remove another card.
- If your dog stops responding, go back to the place where he fell apart and practice more.
- Work at your dog’s pace.
- Your dog doesn’t like the alternative rewards as much as you think. Be sure you have chosen things your dog values.
- You are not randomizing your rewards. Be sure to shuffle your deck well each time so your dog is always guessing. Remember: We need him to gamble that you will produce what he wants, and that means your reinforcement cannot be predictable.