How to Convince Your Dog That You Are The Best Thing in The WorldSep 26, 2022
When I first started training dogs this was not the thought process you were supposed to have. The goal of the training was to teach your dog that you are the alpha and you are in charge of everything. Through science and studies, we have learned that thinking like that is not the most effective way to train a dog. The best way to train any animal is to convince them that you are the best thing since sliced bread and if they perform they can get you to give them what they want.
If your dog is not listening, ignoring you in public, or destroys the house then you need to learn this skill and you need to know it fast. The first time I implemented this was by accident. I was in college training my dogs for class and had forgotten my treat pouch. Although I had forgotten one of the most basic tools for training my dog I did not worry. Since I was wearing a hoodie, I just put the treats in my front pocket. This created a new problem, my dog kept sticking his nose in it to steal treats. My dog was no longer focused on training and learning but rather just the treats. What could I do?
I came up with the brilliant idea to put the treats in the hood of my sweatshirt. This meant my dog couldn't get to it and started to forget I had them. When he did something good, I would reach back and toss a treat toward him. But now I created a new problem. With the treats being associated with the hood of my sweatshirt, once I took the hoodie off, my dog lost interest.
This was the start of my learning about treat placement and how much of an effect it can have on your dog. If you are not careful they will learn when you have treats and when you don’t. This can waste time in training and create a dependent dog. Neither of those things is what I wanted.
I started to change where the treats were coming from on almost every behavior that I asked for. The first behavior, “sit”, I would pull the treat out of my left pocket. The second behavior, “down”, I would pull the treat out of my hoodie pocket. In the third behavior, “spin”, I would pull the treat out of my right pocket. I alternated between all of these spaces to make sure that my dog did not know where they were coming from. Since he had no idea, he was just focused on me. I became this magical being that can produce treats at a moment's notice.
This is one way to get your dog to think you are the best thing in the world. Your dog will start listening more and staring at you in hopes that you will magically make something appear. This is not only for treats by the way. You can replicate this with toys, puzzles, affection, and anything else your dog finds reinforcing. Change up where the rewards are coming from and soon enough your dog will be looking to you, instead of everywhere else.
Stay strong and train on!
-Michael J. Accetta