Dog Training Using Treats
Summary of Points
Praise and attention is often reward enough
Don’t use regular mealtimes for training
Don’t feed your dog more than 3 treats per day (although this will restrict your training activities)
Watch how animals train their own young
Treats can work for older, timid or nervous dogs
Treats can also work well if you need your dog to obey you right away
Using Treats to Train Your Dog
Train you dog
If you are to have a fun and rewarding relationship with your dog, then they must be properly trained. This is particularly important if the dog is to be around children.
A dog who is allowed to do as they wish all the time will quickly come to believe that they are the alpha member of the “pack” and this can actually lead to a dangerous situation, whatever the size or breed of your dog.
So before you begin training your dog, you need to decide which method you will use.
Dogs respond well to praise and positive attention and the use of these are often reward enough.
However, some owners also like to use treats as an incentive and this can of course work well in certain situations. However, you will need to consider some of the following points before deciding on the use of treats when training your dog:
 a Dog Should Not Be Fed More Than 2-3 Treats Per Day
Using Treats When Training Your Dog
Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows that they love to eat.
This is why we regulate a dog’s food intake by having set meal times. So why not use this natural characteristic to our advantage and keep both the owner and the dog happy?
Well, firstly the dog’s meals should never become part of a training regime. No more than you would dream of rewarding a human by only allowing them to have dinner in return for displaying certain behaviors.
So you should always keep your dogs’ meals separate from any treats you might use in training.
Secondly, the experts tell us that a dog should not be fed treats more than 2-3 dog treats per day . So this means that your dog training activities are seriously limited in any one day.
Furthermore, you will never see the parents of animals in the wild reward their offspring with treats.
Training takes place naturally and organically where the young learn by imitation and by approving grunts and licks or disapproving growls and (usually) gentle nips or cuffs .
Having said that, punishing your dog by hitting or hurting them in any way is not recommended. In fact, this can often result in a nervous and/or aggressive animal.
When to use Treats for Dog Training
There are some situations though where the use of treats when training your dog does have some advantages:
- If you are training an older dog that has never been trained before,
- or if you are training a particularly nervous or timid dog
then using treats can help the dog to understand that you do not pose a threat or mean them any harm.
However, once a relationship of trust has been established, then it is a good idea to gradually withdraw the treats and replace them with praise and positive attention. This strengthens thae relationship between you and your dog and makes for more lasting and durable behavior.
There can be other (though usually rare) situations where food is the only way to control your dog.
For example, the prospect of a hunt can be irresistible to many dogs particularly if they have picked up the scent of a rat or a rabbit. In this situation the only way to distract them may be to offer them a treat.
However, if you have already established a trusting relationship with your dog, in which they regard you as the alpha of the pack, then a simple command to return to you should suffice.
So, to summarise:
- Praise and attention is often reward enough
- Don’t use regular mealtimes for training
- Don’t feed your dog more than 3 treats per day (although this will restrict your training activities)
- Watch how animals train their own young
- Treats can work for older, timid or nervous dogs
- Treats can also work well if you need your dog to obey you right away
It’s up to you
Whether you decide to use treats for dog training or not is up to you, but the expert advice indicates that the best results come from reserving the treats for particular situations.
What do you think?
Should you use treats for training your dog?
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