How to Train My Dog to Take a Treat Softly

by Ella Miller
Use your word of choice to reinforce that taking treats softly is positive behavior.

Use your word of choice to reinforce that taking treats softly is positive behavior.

Barry Austin Photography/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Many dogs will never miss an opportunity for a treat. Just saying the word makes many dogs' ears perk up before they come running for their T-R-E-A-T. Some dogs may have missed the memo about taking a treat softly and gently from the hands of someone who is offering up a delicious morsel.

Step 1

Say the word "gentle" or "softly" when giving your dog a treat. Hold the treat out for her while saying this word in a tone that mimics the meaning of the word. Dogs understand the tone of your voice and its pitch, even when they are still learning the actual meaning of the world. Some dogs need more time than others to grasp the concept of taking a treat from the hands of humans in a gentle manner, so patience is necessary.

Step 2

Stick to the rule that if your dog does not take the treat softly, she won't get a treat. This rule, according to "The Bark" magazine, must be in place for soft-treat-taking to click with your dog. Snapping, aggressive treat-taking behavior can't work anymore when it comes to your enthusiastic bundle of fur. From now on, getting a treat entails changing the behavior of teeth on the skin.

Step 3

Help your dog learn the meaning of the word "gentle" or "softly" by holding a treat in one hand and closing your hand around the treat in a fist position. Hold out your hand and offer it to her. Your dog may bite your hand and if she does this, keep your hand firmly closed without letting her have the reward that's inside. Wearing gloves for this exercise may be a good idea if your dog is aggressive when it comes to treat time. If your dog doesn't bite, open your hand and reward her with her treat while saying "softly" or "gentle."

Items You Will Need

  • Treats
  • Gloves (optional)

Photo Credits

  • Barry Austin Photography/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About the Author

Ella Miller has been writing for health, beauty and animal health/welfare publications for more than six years. She has firsthand experience volunteering with animal rescue nonprofit organizations. Miller studies journalism with a minor in animal science at Middle Tennessee State University. She is also a licensed cosmetologist.

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