Rewarding your dog every time they complete a behavior that you've asked them to do is a good thing, right? Well, yes, but it turns out that we may be missing a piece of the puzzle when it comes to dishing out the best dog treats - one that could greatly improve your dog's behavior.
"You might think you should only reward your dog when they are responding to you. Surprisingly, rewarding them when they offer desirable behavior you *didn’t* ask for can actually have a huge impact on improving their behavior!," they explain.
A photo posted by on
So how exactly do you do that? According to DeWillems, it all comes down to capturing them in the act, something she demonstrates in the video. "Capturing is when you reward behaviors the dog chooses to do on their own without a cue from you," she explains.
An example of capturing that DeWillems models is rewarding her dog with a treat when he looks at her without her prompting him to do so. His focus is reinforced and reward by the sound of the clicker and a dog treat.
"This way the dog learns to make the choice on his own," she says. "It decreases how much nagging we have to do to get his attention. We don't want a dog that always has to wait for info from us before choosing a desirable behavior - we want dogs to make those good choices on their own!"
DeWillems goes on to say that the best way to achieve this is to regularly capture those moments when your dog does something you want them to do of their own accord "and then make 'awesome stuff' happen like a click and a treat."
From helping your dog make good choices on their own to increasing their engagement during training sessions, DeWillems says capturing your dog's good behavior increases your chances of seeing more of it.
So, next time you're out and about with your pup, why not give capturing a go? Use this technique when your dog is looking at you, orientating in your direction, turning away from a distraction, allowing for slack in their leash, watching triggers calmly, or standing patiently looking at you in between cues.
Looking for more great training tips? Then be sure to check out our top tips for how to crate train a dog.
Get the best advice, tips and top tech for your beloved Pets
Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past three years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with a very mischievous Cocker Spaniel and a super sassy cat, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.