Dogs can be trained at any time during their lifetimes and there’s nothing like the thrill when our furry best friend does a trick for the first time.

Reward based training is without doubt one of the most powerful ways of getting our message across to our dogs, and those yummy treats are usually their best incentive.

So how and when should you use this system to keep Fido looking slim and healthy?

• Firstly, treats should be no larger than 1cm square regardless of how big your dog is. In any case, it is always beneficial to have treats that can be broken up easily so those portions don’t creep up.

• Keep it small, keep it healthy and keep it low fat. Seek treats made from lean meats and low fat veggies without those fillers and additives.

• Keep it to one treat per behaviour. For example, sitting = one treat, staying = one treat etc.

• Remember to keep those treats for when your pooch has earned them. Free-rewarding him or her will cause demotivation to work for them.

• Keep to the scales and weigh your dog every month or so. If that weight is climbing then reduce those treats back a bit.

Once your dog’s behaviour has improved, you can cut back the treats naturally so your dog will learn to behave without the incentive for food.