Should You Use Dog Treats in Dog Training?
Apparently, there has been a lot of debate about one particular part of dog training: the giving of treats. Yes, we all know that giving treats are a good way to get your dog to focus on a particular lesson, but the question remains whether or not it is a truly effective method.
There are advantages and disadvantages to anything. Giving your dog treats in order to train him to become obedient also involves some high points and low points.
Some people think that it’s a good way of applying positive reinforcement that will influence a dog’s behavior, while others believe it’s unproductive since it only teaches a dog to become opportunistic (in this sense, only responsive when there is food involved).
So, how can we weigh this issue down?
For one thing, doggy treats are a great way to incentivize for good behavior. It is true that dogs prioritize food over everything else, and that explains how they are more excited when they are made to do something in which food is involved.
But you need to water this argument down by realizing that dogs sometimes respond whenever there is food. In other words, they can only obey you if they know they get rewarded for it.
You also need to address the scenario in which a dog isn’t really in the mood to eat, so it is not obligated to follow you.
So, what should be the best course of action? Simple: moderate the giving of food. You should realize that dog training is about effort, not only on your part, but on the dog’s part as well.
Food is only there to motivate your dog to become more disciplined. In short, food is only a means to an end, and not an end in itself.
So, every time your dog does a good job following your command, don’t give the treat outright. Pat your dog and rub him just below his ears. Tell him that he is a good boy and give him part of the treat.
This technique allows for better rapport between you and your dog, as well as preventing your dog from being too dependent on the food.
For puppies, you might want to give them a taste of adult dog food. Small biscuits are easy to munch on, and puppies would usually want more of those after taking just a little bite. At least with adult dog food, puppies can only do so much as chew with their little jaws.
One thing remains important though: You should always consider treats as central in dog training. But not as a reward, but as a form of motivation that should make your dog work harder.
The bottomline is that dog treats are essential. But if you depend too much on them while training your puppy, you may not arrive at the expected outcomes. Still, you shouldn’t be too complacent with dog treats.
There are other ways you can offer incentive to your dog for obeying you. You can always make use chew toys you can buy cheap from pet stores. You may also want to give words of encouragement.
Not that your dog actually understands what you say, but they can feel your sincerity just by the tone of your voice.
At least, you won’t have to spend too much on dog treats to make the training work.