Skip to content
530-873-1136Full-service veterinary hospital serving the Butte County region
Dog Training

Effective dog training uses food as positive reinforcement.

There are many ways for a dog to learn new tricks. Most dogs are strongly motivated by food, unless that dog is overweight. The following task is called “learn to earn” dog training; it is a simple way for your dog to learn a new trick.

Learn to Earn dog training

Simply start out by using the same dog food you feed your dog every day. Pour an exact amount in the bowl according to your dog’s size. A German Shepard will eat about 4 cups of dog food a day whereas a Chihuahua would only need about ¼ cup of food per day. Break the total amount of cups per day into two portions and plan to feed your dog two times a day. Using the German Shepard as an example, you should place 2 cups of dog food in the bowl in the morning and 2 cups in the bowl at night. If you are not sure how much to feed your dog, consult with your veterinarian or animal behavior consultant.

Place the bowl of dog food out of reach of the dog and ask the dog to perform a simple trick, such as “sit”. Once the trick is performed, place the bowl down and allow the dog to eat. When the dog has completed eating and the bowl is empty, remove the bowl from the ground and store it out of reach of the dog. There-should never be food out for the dog to eat all day long. The dog needs to be limited in its food intake. Understand that water is not the same as dog food and should be available for your dog at all times. If your dog does not finish all of its food in one sitting, simply remove the bowl from the ground and make a note to feed less food the next time. Feeding should take no longer than 5 minutes.

Many dogs know the smell of the food they eat and the sound it makes when it hits the bowl. Be aware that your dog is smart and will begin to do its tricks without your command. Please do not allow this behavior; this is not the goal. Rather this is your dog teaching you. If this behavior occurs, you have two choices to get back on track of your goal.

One, make the dog stand back up or run around and then ask it to “sit”. Wait for the command to get the desired reaction and feed the dog.Two, teach the dog a trick such as “down”, “stay” or “roll over”. If the dog performs the second trick on command, feed it.

The goal of “learn to earn” is twofold: first, it is a way to open a line of communication between you and your dog without using physical, instead you are using positive reinforcement; second, you are teaching the dog that you are the leader of the pack, a very important concept in human-dog interaction. Most bad dogs believe they are the leader of the pack and thus have no need to listen to you.

If you continue “learn to earn” throughout your dog’s life, you will find that your dog is well behaved and will listen to you. If you have any questions, never hesitate to call Rich Gingery Jr. at Whispering Pines Pet Clinic (530) 873-1136

More information on dog training

Dog Training 101

Back To Top