You love your dog. You love spending time with your dog, so you know how important it is to train him, to do certain things and to avoid other behaviors.
Treats are a great way to reinforce positive behaviors with your furry best friend, but you also love your hands and fingers. Sometimes it just hurts to give a treat because dogs take it very hard. You probably have a list of things you need to teach your dog, but the order “Gentle” should be at the top of the list. This way, the treats will be safer for you and more effective for your dog.
If you’re lucky, your dog will already be soft in the mouth, as some are by nature. Nevertheless, you should be prepared to teach him or at least strengthen him.
First and foremost, make sure that learning the “soft” tail is done alone and not during or in conjunction with training sessions for other behaviors. Dogs can sometimes be quite intelligent and in some ways even appear human, but it is always best to teach only one thing at a time to avoid confusion or mix-ups between trainings that you may never be able to resolve.
Let your dog know from the start that there will be no treat at all if he does not gently take the treat out of your hand. Never allow a quick snap movement to succeed; your dog should never get used to receiving a treat, regardless of his behavior or energy.
When the first moment comes when you want to give your dog a treat, hold the treat in your hand but close your fist around the treat when you offer it. Your dog might bite your hand. Wear gloves or offer resistance, depending on your personal tolerances and your dog’s exact behavior.
Only when you stop biting and your dog moves on to licking or simply to a painless and/or gentle nibbling, say “Gently” by opening your palm and letting your dog receive the treat.
Say the signal every time you offer a treat, whether it is for training or for love and affection. Come back with your hand closed each time your dog has a relapse. Over time, your dog will respect your authority and leave your hands and fingers intact for other treats.