How to Treat Your Dog

Michael Baugh CDBC CPDT-KSA

Many of us have noticed, when we’re training our dog he seems to be more worried over the treat bag than the task at hand. He can’t take his eyes off the bag, as if staring at it will cause the food to magically leap out of the bag.

There’s a reason this happens.

Many of us, when we are training, are more worried over the treat bag than the actual task of training our dog. We are busy fussing with the bag or digging in it. My guess is that we’ve been programmed to think we have to be lightening fast with the food or the training won’t stick.

That’s not true. And, our preoccupation with the treat bag is actually derailing our training efforts. It’s distracting the dog and causing him to focus on it rather than on the stuff we are trying to teach him.

How we use food and how we deliver that food in training matters. I hope these step-by-step instructions help.

1. Keep your hands at “home position.” When you are teaching your dog, let your hands relax at your side – at home position. Notice where your hands are are and keep them there. Definitely keep them out of the treat back. You may use one of your hands (usually the one not holding the clicker) to give your dog a visual cue – but really, most of the time your hand will just be hanging there.


2. Click when your dog performs the task. Your treat hand remains still and at your side when you click. Stay out of the back. Count 1-one-thousand to yourself after the click.


3. Reach in the bag and get a treat. This happens after the click (not at the same time), and after that brief 1-one-thousand pause.


4. Give your dog the treat.


These events to not overlap. They are three separate and distinct steps.

Click –> Reach –> Feed.


Michael Baugh Teaches dog training in Houston TX.  He lives with his husband and two dogs, Stella and Stewie (pictured above).