Food training is important with your Yorkie
When training your Yorkie, food is a great motivator for dogs and why it can often be very effective for obedience training.
You are asking your Yorkie to complete what may be a hard task for them — understanding a visual or verbal cue and then perform the desired task. This may seem simple to you, but Yorkies don’t normally communicate this way. By using the power of something that is very primal to them — food — you can make learning the task much easier.
Here are a few tips on how to approach food-oriented obedience training:
Use small treat
While you are training your Yorkie, it is very easy to overdo it with treats. Help ensure your Yorkie maintains its weight by using pieces of treats.
Reward a calm-submissive state
Your mood affects your Yorkie. You are reinforcing whatever behavior preceded the treat, so don’t accidentally reward hyperactive behavior. Wait for your Yorkie to calm down and provide the treat.
Don’t bribe your Yorkie
You want to avoid bribery. Your Yorkie learns how to complete a task… but they’ll only do it when they know there’s a treat waiting for them. Treats are great for initially getting your Yorkie’s attention, but you need to rely on them less and less. Your attention and affection is a much better prize.
Reward each step towards the desired behavior
Reward your Yorkie’s small wins, especially at the beginning. Many people make the mistake of trying to get their Yorkie to perform the entire task before giving the treat… and become frustrated when it doesn’t work.
For instance, maybe you are trying to train your Yorkie to sit, and they lower their butt just a little. Giving them a treat helps re-enforce the action. When they do it again, give the treat again. Eventually, they will understand what the treat is connected to. Then you can wait to reward them until they get their butt even closer to the ground… until finally, they are sitting for it.
Yorkies have short attention spans. You may have trouble getting your Yorkie to pay attention to the food. It may be because there’s something more interesting in the environment, such as whirring cars, scurrying squirrels, or playing children. Find a place where your Yorkie’s focus will be on you and that tasty treat.
Try different treats
Another common problem with food-oriented obedience training is your Yorkie’s preference aka their taste. It’s possible the treat you’re using simply isn’t delicious enough to be exciting and motivate the behavior you desire. Test out different healthy dog treats until you find one that gets your Yorkie’s attention. Rosie would do anything for yellow and orange peppers.
Of course, some dogs are more food-oriented than others. If food doesn’t capture your dog’s attention, toys and your affection may work instead. For those who do have a big appetite for a tasty treat, always opt for a healthy reward.