"Taking Treats Nicely!" Game

Being opportunists, most dogs when presented with food will grab, lunge, snatch, bite at it to get it. This exercise is to teach your dog that they can have the food but they must take it from your hand nicely and softly. This is a really quick and easy game to play with your dog and we encourage that you practice with the dog in different positions in relation to you as well as in different training locations, to help your dog generalise the behaviour.

How to teach Taking Treats Nicely Game.

Step 1: Pinch a treat between your fingers so your dog can take it when they lick but if they nibble or bite at your fingers for the treat they can't get the treat. I suggest using treats that you can easily hold onto if your dog uses their teeth, avoid slimy and slippery treats. 

Step 2: Offer the treat to your dog and hold it right in front of their mouth but don't release it. I find it is best if you shut your eyes or look away for this step as I find our eyes play tricks on us and by the time you bridge the lick the tongue has disappeared

Step 3: Wait and see if your dog licks for the treat. The moment you feel your dog lick for the treat, bridge and release the treat for your dog to eat. Through repetition your dog should be less nibbley and more lickey. 

*Note: If at any stage your dog nibbles or bites at your hand for the treat and it hurts, resist the urge to jerk your hand back as that will only make them snatch for it more. Instead, offer the back of your hand to your dog until they calm down and you can try again. 

*Note: if your dog is eager eager and they struggle licking for the treat, you might have to first play this games with low value treats and build to higher value treats. Another option is to try this game after they have already eaten a meal and are less food motivated. 

*Troubleshoot: If you find your dog is struggling to understand that they need to lick, try repositioning and holding the treat in a different way that might give them a different perspective and the idea to lick. 

*Troubleshoot: If after trying the above start with covering the palm of your hand in a thin layer of peanut butter to lick to give them the idea of licking instead go biting. Fade the peanut butter from your whole palm to pinching a bloop of peanut butter in-between your fingers.