Turn your dog into a GAMBLER and build ENGAGEMENT!

“Hi Natalie, my dog will only listen if I have treats. How do I get them to listen without treats?”

“So, do I always have to use the ecollar for forever?”

“Hey Natalie, my dogs still jump on people even though I correct them for it. Why?”

These are typical questions we trainers get in our inbox on a daily basis.

And the answer (partially the answer) comes down to: what is your reinforcement schedule?

👉🏽If your dog relies on treats to be present in order to complete a behavior, it may be because you have used a CONTINUOUS REINFORCEMENT SCHEDULE for too long.

This type of reinforcement schedule is necessary to TEACH behaviors but NOT to maintain them. Stay in this phase for too long and your dog will become trained to only complete commands when food is present. If not they go “no food? I only do this with food because that’s how it’s always been.”
👉🏽When people ask me “do I have to use the ecollar for forever?” There are a lot of different responses. However, typically what I say to people is: it depends on how consistent YOU are. The ecollar is a training AID. If you don’t utilize the ecollar consistently enough, your dog will be able to participate in poor behaviors. Gaining reinforcement by doing so and therefore keeping the behaviors we so desperately want to remove.
👉🏽Which is a great segway into why your dog may still do behaviors even if you correct them. Chances are a major factor is going to be that you are not correcting them EVERY time. Behaviors like barking, jumping, counter surfing, trash diving, etc are self rewarding behaviors. We need to put these behaviors into a continuous non-reinforcement schedule until the behavior has gone so long without reinforcement that it is extinguished from the behavior repertoire.

So if you want to have more reliability in behaviors without having to need a treat in hand, lessen the use of the ecollar and remove problem behaviors, ask yourself “what reinforcement schedule am I using?”

For more education on which reinforcement schedule is best to use, how to use them and more information on each one, check out our online training platform. Sign up below for a FREE 7 day trial!


#dogtraining #howtotrainyourdog

Please watch: "I drove 20 hours to train this Goldendoodle! (vlog)"


31 Comments on “Turn your dog into a GAMBLER and build ENGAGEMENT!”

  1. I finally got my dog to sit and stay, It took me almost a week!
    I was about to give up and then popcorn did the trick.
    So it’s more about repetition? I guess.

  2. My husky puppy is almost 6 month old and he has been doing pretty well with basic commands and tricks with about 80%-100% success rate. Is it the time to move onto the next step you suggested in this video? I am wondering if there is any age that you recommend to start not giving a food reward every single time or is it more about each individual dog’s ability? Thank you for your great work!

  3. Is there an age that you start training a puppy or does it matter? I feel like mine gets distracted easily and then doesn’t listen.

    1. Start building engagement with positive reinforcement immediately – you can start integrating and conditioning more advanced tools around 6 months

  4. Hello, I just got a rescue dog and she is hesitant to move at all. At the shelter they had to carry her out because she wouldn’t move and she sometimes snaps at you if you try to pick her up out of fear. I could barely get her inside the house once I got home because of her fear and lack of trust. What do you recommend to help gain her trust in order to be able to go out into the back yard or go for a simple walk?

    1. Start out very slowly, move at the dogs pace regardless of what you want them to do.

      You’d gain a ton of value from my online training platform:


    2. Hand feed the dog……crouch down, one step at a time…dont say much but “yes” when it takes a step…reward immediately…….then play like hell!!!! Have fun and go slooooooowwwwwwwww!!

  5. You are by far the best dog trainer on youtube Natalie. Not only are you a wizard with dogs yourself, but your demeanor, natural attitude, and clear way of explaining everything is pure gold. Please keep making videos! Even just watching you hang out with and interact with dogs (like in your first long video with your two dogs) is educational. By the way, it would be cool for you to show off yours in a video sometime again. It’s pretty wild what you can do with someone else’s dog in two or three days, watching you work with your own dogs is downright amazing. Thanks for all the hard work that goes into the videos, they are going to help a lot of dogs and owners live better lives.

  6. Most training methods don’t work on my strong-charactered GSD puppy, but yours do and you’ve added a lot of tools to my kit. Wish you were local but we’ve gotten over the big hurdles and he’s coming along nicely.

    You’re awesome Natalie! And so fit! Keep up the great videos!

  7. One request. Can you pls make a video of durations to shift over on next level of training a dog. I mean like the point I should start distraction training,the point to start a duration training etc. 😊

  8. What do you think I should do when if I put my dog in the crate then take him outside he will pee. But I want to move that towards me only taking him out 3 times a day. Also I just got him 3 days ago so he is young. Please help me out.

  9. Hi Nathalie, it will be very nice to have an all-around video for the first time owner about the best starter pack : leash, collar + e-collar, crate, toy, bed, clicker, etc; and how do you measure the quantity he really need daily. Thank’s in advance and keep up your excellent work!

  10. I’ve been learning a lot from your videos. We get our first puppy ever in 4 weeks! Thanks for the informative information and to the point presentation.

  11. So glad I found your channel! We are getting ready to welcome our fist puppy in September. Thank you for explaining and demonstration to the point in a very professional matter.

    1. How old is your dog and breed? Once it knows the command……dont forget start everything inside the house/no distractions…..be -patient and short training sessions (3-4 times a day for 5-7 minutes or so!)…my gsd is almost 7 months and is rewarded intermittently/randomly….started continuous, of course and started matching corrections as well a couple weeks ago as she is very tough/hard headed…have fun!

    2. @Kingdom K9 Training Academy, ABC Thank you very much for the answer, I have two male dogs, a 3-year-old Belgian Mallinois and a 9-month-old Labrador. Both already know sitting, although they have not mastered it yet. So I keep working with prizes and when they do it all the times, I reduce the food and congratulate them more.
      Great channel, very useful and interesting.

Leave a Reply