Training Your Dog to Take Treats Gently

by Jess Rollins

By Jess Rollins
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The danger in working on this is if your dog doesn't get the treat right away, she may get more frustrated and grab harder for it the next time.

If you use the technique I will describe, to avoid getting your dog frustrated you will want to start with feeding her the treat for all but the most rough grabs (say one in 5) and then gradually start getting pickier as she improves.

This will go faster if you feed her kibble by hand (no tricks required) using the following technique:

  • Get her food bowl with kibble in it.
  • Hold out a piece of kibble in a way that you can keep it if she bites down hard.
  • If she mouths hard say "ouch" and put the kibble back in the bowl and put the bowl up for a minute or two.
  • Repeat Repeat Repeat.
  • Make sure you are not doing the ouch routine for more than 1 in 5 times of offering the kibble.
  • Begin to get more and more sensitive (making sure that she gets the treat 4 out of 5 times still).
  • Once she is doing great for this, try working on it in other contexts.
  • While you are working on this with her food bowl, I suggest that for training and other times you feed treats, deliver the treat in a way that will just avoid the possibility of her mouthing you hard (toss it perhaps) until you are getting progress with her meal.


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