To Treat or not to Treat?


Should you use treats in dog training or not?
Some people claim it is better
to not use treats in training.
Their concern is that the Dog
will only listen in case there is a treat.
This is a valid concern,
cause this can happen if
treats are mis-used in training.

The trick is to make sure that food
is being used as a reward and not as a bribe.
There is a big difference!

A bribe is produced before the desired behavior,
a reward is produced after the behavior.
So even showing the treat
before giving a command
is considered a bribe.

Important is to know that
when you are rewarding good behaviour,
you have many options to reward:
a favorite toy, a cozy cuddle, playtime,
a belly rub, taking a hike together..

Whatever makes your Dog happy
can be used as a reward.
Make sure to change type of rewards frequently.
This will help prevent the problem
that your dog will only follow the commands
when you have treats around.

There are also a lot of Dogs
who love their treats but
will not eat when going outside
cause of too much excitement and distractions.

This will make the use of treats
for training outside the home useless.
Again that is why it is very important
to use different variations of rewards.
Your Dog will soon learn that following commands
and showing good behaviour
will get him happy surprises 😀

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Using food isn’t cheating or bribing.
It is an easy way to motivate your dog.
A reward should be a positive consequence
for a desired behavior.

There are lots and lots of ways to reward
your dog for a good behavior.
Treats are just one of the most used
and often misused rewards.

It is very important to not
overfeed your Dog while training.
It is also very important to not combine
treats as a reward in any form of training
where conditioning or any form
of activity/sport is involved.
Active training with a full stomach
can cause a medical condition called bloat,
where the stomach swells up/tilts
which can be fatal to a dog.

Of course you can use 2 or 3 treats
during training in the park
but make sure to not overfeed
and excersize in one session.

So regarding using treats in Dog training
we can summarize it into

4 golden rules of using treats
in Dog training:

1. Use treats as a reward, not as a bribe

2. A treat should only be one of the many rewards
you give your dog, variety is key

3. Do not overfeed

4. Do not use treats combined
with exercise/sport training