Work Smarter, Not Harder: Treat Jars

This week’s “Work Smarter Not Harder” entry is devoted to the following phrase:

“So do I have to walk around my house with treats in my pocket all the time?”

The answer is no! There are easy ways to always have quick, easy access to treats when you’re training. My favorite is setting up treat jars where you need them most. 

There are 3 places in my house where I typically hang out or need access to quick reinforcers for training:

At night we’re usually curled up on the couch. Oso used to be incredibly reactive (ie: barky) at passersby when we first adopted him so when we moved to our new house with these gorgeous picture windows we were concerned about regressions in his behavior. He’s come a long way but every now and then he’ll see someone concerning. There’s a treat jar and clicker on the end table where we can easily grab it and work on some behavior modification. It’s come in handy for his fear of thunderstorms and fireworks, too. 

Treat jar right next to the couch makes training at the window easy!

Oso LOVES being outside. He’d be happy if we all just lived in the yard instead of the house. That made training recalls (come when called) to come inside harder. We keep a treat jar right by the back door and reinforce him for coming inside every time. His recalls are so much better now!

We’re never without treats to reinforce Oso coming when called!

If I’m home on a workday I’m in my office. You can get away with just the treat box and not look tacky when it’s your profession. 

You can get away with the treat box itself in the office of an animal behavior consultant.

Now what?

  • Where do you normally hang out and find yourself needing some quick reinforcers? Ask everyone in your household. 
  • Pick out treat jars that you like. I use little mason jars because they keep treats fresh, don’t look out of place with our decor, and frankly because I had them on hand. I’m also not worried about Oso stealing them whereas plastic bags would be pretty enticing. 
  • Put treats in your jars and place them around the house! Grab some treats whenever your pet needs a quick training moment. 
  • Enjoy the convenience and speed with which you can treat your pet! No more rushing to the pantry and missing the moment. 

Happy training!