How do I train my dog to follow the commands without the use of treats?

My 11 month old Min Pin has a bit of trouble during training. She'll only follow my commands when she knows food is involved. How do I break that habit? Plus, when she's full, she'll just ignore me! Please help! I try to just praise her when she does a correct trick but she won't do any other trick unless I give her a treat. How can I train her to be satisfied with praise? PS. I'll still give her treats and rewards but I want it to lessen.

Asked by Chibi on May 21st 2011 in Behavior & Training
Report this question Get this question's RSS feed Send this question to a friend


  • Cast your vote for which answer you think is best!


Bruno CGC

This is called "fading the lure." Very common difficulty in training.

What you need to do is show her that training can happen anytime, anywhere. Don't be so obvious about holding a treat in front of her face. Ask her to perform, and THEN take it out of your pocket (or other hidden place) when she obeys. Or if she doesn't obey, say "Too bad" and put it away or eat it yourself.
Don't do training sessions always in the same place, either. If you usually train in the kitchen, try doing it on the patio instead. You want to break up the routine, so she's always wondering if you have the treats or not.

Another trick is to keep the food visible during a training session, but don't give a reward on every repetition. Do it on every third, or every fifth (on average.) Over several sessions, space out the food more and more, so eventually she only gets a treat at the end of the session.

Make sure your training treats are very small (the size of your pinkie finger nail) too.

Bruno CGC answered on 5/21/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer