4. Prevent Bribery
Get the visual presence of the food out of the picture as soon as possible. When lure training, (think of the cookie on the dog’s nose to achieve a sit), you want to get the cookie away as soon as you see him grasp the basics of the behavior. Then, start using the same gesture without the cookie, and reward the dog with a treat from your pocket once he actually sits. This takes the reward further away from the job.
Another tip for preventing bribery is to make sure you have your dog’s full attention before asking him to do something. Make sure the dog is paying attention. Teach him to respond quickly to his name, so that he pays more attention to you. His name should get the same response as “Do you want a treat?”
5. Using Life Rewards
When your dog is responding to hand-signals along with treats, begin to vary how he gets his rewards. Sometimes use a treat, but often use something else he wants – like his leash put on to go for a walk, his favorite toy to be thrown, or an invitation to join you on the couch for snuggle time. Life rewards will help him realize that he can get what he wants by pleasing you. This also allows you to use food randomly – as a surprise – this extremely exciting for dogs, and often motivates them to work even harder.