How to Use Food Luring in Dog Training

Sep 19, 2022

Teaching your dog through a food lure is a great way to get a simple behavior in a very quick way. It's not very good long-term, however, it does help you at the moment get good behavior. This is why so many people opt for luring when they're looking to teach a new dog something. Easy to do, easily repeatable over and over and over again, and it's easy to instruct somebody else on doing it. It's great when you're trying to teach a large group how to do something. But there are some flaws when it comes to using a lure. We'll be going over that in other articles but today I just want to teach you how to use the lure in the most effective way.

What you're going to do is put the food in your hand and place it in front of your dog's nose. As they go towards the food you're simply going to release small amounts at a time so that they can nibble on it. The more you let them nibble the more engaged they will be. Over time you can reduce the amount of nibbling that the dog is allowed to do in order to build up their motivation and focus. But in the beginning, you want to give them as much food as possible in a short period of time. This is known as a high rate of reinforcement. Some trainers even start off just feeding their dog from the hand and then starting to move.

The next step is to build up the motivation by moving your hand and rewarding them for following it. Start off nice and slow and as they get better you can move more and more at a faster pace. Your goal here is to just move your dog around and have them follow the treats. You can then start practicing putting your dog in different positions. Raise the treat up, and their nose will go up. Pull the treat to the right and they will move to the right. If you're practicing this while reading the article, you will probably find out that it's very easy once your dog is motivated to follow the food.

Three basic behaviors you can teach are sit, down, and spin. Bring the treat up above their nose and slightly push back towards their butt. As their butt goes down you would release a larger amount of food to “jackpot” that behavior. This is teaching the “sit” and you should not be adding in the cue just yet. Get the behavior down first. For the “down” behavior, you are going to bring the treat down and toward them. That's going to shift their weight back and put them into a down position. That can be tricky for some dogs as they don't want to go down right away. Then for the “spin”, just have your dog follow your hand as you loop it in a giant circle around them.

Good luck, stay training and I'll see you in the next article.

-Michael J. Accetta




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