1. Ensure that your dog is in a familiar and comfortable setting for training (ie avoid distractions)
2. Engage your dog to make sure that his/her full attention is on you
3. Make sure to choose a desirable treat with a flat surface
4. Have your dog in a sitting position, avoid slippery grounds for sliding
5. Initially, hold the dog treat close to your dog's nose or mouth, teaching your dog to ignore the treat by firmly saying "no" when he/she tries to reach for it. Be patient, it may take many sessions to even perfect this step.
6. Once your dog is able to avoid the food around his/her nose, place gently on snout
7. Practice balancing with your dog followed with the cues "Take it" or "OK" to allow your dog to grab at the treat. Once your dog can balance the treat on his/her nose, you may slowly lengthen the time before your dog takes the treat.
8. Remember to avoid yelling and causing a stressful environment--learn when to end the training session when you sense your dog is distressed
9. Give lots of praises. treats, and encouragement throughout the training process
10. Have fun and use the training session as a bonding experience with you and your pet!
This is how we train Ruckus the treat balancing act. He is an avid learner and very treat driven, so after a few sessions, he was able to ace it. Remember that each dog has their own learning curve!
TIP: It is extremely helpful to first teach your dog how to leave and take treats off their paws. Then the next step would be off the nose!
Here's the YouTube video of some of Ruckus's tricks.