Should You Use Treats for Training?

Training a dog in basic obedience can be a real pleasure. It is something that many dog owners use from the time they are quite young, and they teach them basic commands, such as sit, down and stay. Although there are many different methods that can be used for this purpose, one that is used by many people is positive reinforcement through giving dog treats. Is this something that you should do?

First of all, there is nothing wrong with giving your dog a treat and if that is what you want to do when training, it is perfectly fine to do so. Many dogs have been trained using treats and it is a very positive way to train them, because the dog does enjoy getting a treat when they do something good. There are certain things that you need to be aware of, however, that can really make a difference in the effectiveness of rewarding a dog in this way.

First of all, it is important to consider the amount of treats that you are giving your dog at any given time. There are treats that are specific for dog training and they are very convenient, small and can be carried in a little bag for the purpose of training the dog. That being said, you may find that you are going through these expensive treats very quickly and if you give your dog too many, it is not necessarily going to be the healthiest thing for them.

In order to curtail this problem, many dog owners will cut those treats into smaller pieces. Typically, the dog doesn’t need a treat that is any larger than your fingernail and they will be perfectly happy to get one that is even smaller. You can train your dog longer and with better results by using smaller treats. Your dog will be just as happy with them as well.

You should also not fall into the trap of believing that your dog is going to get spoiled and will demand a treat, anytime you ask him to follow a command. Understand one thing about dogs; they are obsessed with eating so you don’t need to give them any prompting to have them obsessing over a treat. That being said, it is also important to use them properly and sometimes, it is best to wean them off of the treat or perhaps to mix it with a pleasant voice and a scratch behind the ears.

Finally, avoid the most common trap that many pet owners fall into. Treats should be used as a form of reinforcement but sometimes, the dog is going to manipulate you into using them as a type of bribery. You can give a treat to a dog after they have done a proper job and listen to the command. What you want to avoid, however, is offering them something before they do the task in order to get them to do it. Dogs are smart and they understand the difference. Now you do too.

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