Lesson 12 of 18
In Progress

To the Treats!

Rather than react to a trigger in the house or at the window, train your dog to follow you to a designated place and then reward them once you’re there! 

Great for dogs that bark at the door or window, or have a tendency to pick up items and guard them. 

Steve Mann from IMDT uses the cue ‘To the fridge!’, but you can replace ‘fridge’ with wherever you want your dog to go. Or you can just say ‘To the Treats!’ One of my clients chose ‘To the Bat Cave!’ which is pretty cool if they do actually have a Bat Cave at home.


  1. Choose the place you would like your dog to go to when the unwanted behaviour occurs. E.g. if your dog barks at the front window, choose an area at the back of the house furthest from the window. If your dog reacts in the garden, choose an area indoors. Having one particular bed that you always go to works well.
  2. Prepare a tub of high-value rewards and leave them in the designated area for easy access. 
  3. Sit down on the sofa for a couple of minutes and relax.
  4. Then suddenly jump up and with your best superhero impression, hand in the air pointing, and shout in a happy excited voice, ‘To the bed/fridge/Bat Cave!’ and run to that place. 
  5. Your dog will think you’ve gone mad but they’ll wonder what all the excitement is about and follow you. 
  6. When you get to the designated place, scatter a handful of treats for your dog to find. If they prefer lickmats, have one pre-prepared and make your designated area the kitchen. 
  7. Then just stop and go back to the sofa and relax.
  8. Repeat, repeat, repeat. 
  9. Do it from different rooms, at different times of the day. 
  10. Once it becomes a reflex response, i.e. they can’t help but stop whatever they’re doing and follow you each and every time, start to practice closer and closer to the area of the house where the problem behaviour tends to occur.
  11. Make sure you’ve practiced enough before you need to test it out in real life.

Top tips:

  • Repeat this several times to strengthen the response and association. 
  • Try it at different times during the day
  • Introduce it when there are no distractions to start with
  • Introduce it travelling from different rooms within your home to the fridge
  • Practice, practice, practice before you look to use it as your dog starts to become unsettled with distractions which would trigger them to bark.

Your training will take time and it is important that you practice short frequent sessions over a period of time. Take your time building up your training around distractions before using it around your problem area.

  • 1 week practicing ‘To the Fridge’ to build up an association
  • 1 week practicing ‘To the Fridge’ from different rooms within your house
  • 1 week practicing ‘To the Fridge’ in the room where your dog would normally react 
  • Progress to training around distractions