You may find that delivering a treat to your dog creates a bit of excitement and can result in either jumping or getting some of your fingers when taking the treat. When this happens, it often causes frustration for pet parents and results in them treating less. For many dogs, getting treats less often makes treats that much more exciting and can cause even more jumping and finger biting. If you want to use treats to train but you’re stuck in this loop, try treating more often and try out some of these recommended delivery methods.
1. Open hand When you’re pinching a treat between your fingers and reaching down to give it to your dog, you may feel those teeth hit your skin and it may hurt. Instead, try having the treat in the palm of your hand and lowering your hand down. You can also try with the treat in your palm delivering it straight into your dog’s mouth. Sometimes you need to hold onto it with your index finger and thumb and then you move them out of the way a split second before your hand makes contact with your dog’s mouth. 2. Placing it on the ground This method works great when you’re doing stationary behaviors. Whenever I ask my dog, Rosa to hold a down/stay, I always place her treat on the ground where she can conveniently grab it without having to get up or move much at all. When you first start this you may find your dog is ready to pounce on it. With repetition though, you’ll notice your dog start to be more laid back about it. 3. Tossing the treat If you’re asking for a behavior that you want to “position feed,” you’ll want to be careful about treat tossing. This is because if you make a bad toss or if it bounces off of your dog’s mouth, they’re likely going to get up and get it, which isn’t great for reinforcing a stay. That said, I love tossing treats on walks. If you toss it ahead of you, it’s a great way to get your dog focused on something other than what’s happening in the environment. And if you’re good at tossing, it can be a way to reward a loose leash walk. 4. Using a squeeze tube Squeeze tubes are an awesome way to deliver treats when out on walks. They can be used in other scenarios as well. I loved using these during the winter months because it meant I could keep my hands dry and warm. (It’s not easy delivering treats with gloves on!) You can purchase camping squeeze tubes that are reusable and you can stuff whatever your dog loves in it. You can also check out the baby food options that come in pouches.