© 2014 Jerry D. Patillo, CPDT-KA
Phoenix Behavior Consulting
When using treats in training, your puppy must learn to take the treat gently, without grabbing, biting, or incessantly nibbling at the treat. Your puppy must learn to have a soft mouth. It must learn to be in control of its mouth when it is offered food from the hand.
Place a treat in your fist. Let the puppy smell your fist. Present your fist with the treat in front of its nose. If it starts to bite and mouth at the treat and /or your fingers, tell it OUCH! Freeze your hand movement with your fist closed. When it removes its mouth, click! Say TAKE IT and allow your puppy to take the treat from your flat open palm. Once your puppy doesn’t touch your hand with its teeth, click! and then say TAKE IT. Allow your puppy to take the treat.
Continue to repeat the same procedure until your puppy doesn’t touch your hand with its mouth. As soon as it refrains, say TAKE IT and give it the treat. Repeat this several times a day. Your puppy will not get its treat when it uses its teeth. Gradually make the treat more and more visible. Never say TAKE IT if your puppy uses its teeth. Your puppy must learn that it will not receive the treat from you unless it inhibits its mouth. Do this exercise every time it receives a hand-held food from your hand in a gentle manner.