The Power of the Cookie Jar

By Maureen Patin CPDT-KA Founder/Head Trainer What a Great Dog Training Centers
Setting up treat stations around the house will take your dog training to a whole new level! Being able to quickly reward your dog for around the house behaviors is powerful. This concept also tells your dog that great behavior “could” be rewarded at ANY time, not just when you’re wearing a treat pouch.
Treat stations are small containers, like a cookie jar, or bags of treats placed throughout your house – especially near problem areas where training is needed the most. Catch your dog doing something you’d like to see more of? Say a special word that means “You just did something awesome, let’s go to the treat station together”. “Cookie!” is a popular choice. Then, hustle over to that treat station and reward them! Here are just a few ways to use this powerful tool:
  • The Front Door: Reward for things like calm behavior when getting ready to go walk, preventing or interrupting barking when someone knocks at your door or four feet on the floor when guests visit.
  • The Back Door: Reward your dog when you call him back inside.
  • The Kitchen: For those counter loving dogs, be sure to reward your dog before they get a chance to check out what you’re cooking for dinner. Having a place for your dog to settle in the kitchen / when you’re eating gives your dog a place to go that gets rewarded.
  • Living Room: Reward your dog for noticing someone walking by without barking when looking out the window.

Recognize that for many behaviors you’ll need to reward anything that is “headed in the right direction”.  For example, I should start with rewarding my dog EVERY time I call him in from the backyard.  Then I can progress to only rewarding the times he comes FAST or when there are distractions. 

The more you use these impromptu rewards, the faster you’ll see behavior change. Think of some areas where your dog’s behaviors could be improved and some places around the house you could use the power of the cookie jar!