When and why you should use Food While Training
Dogs love to please you and will eventually respond without treats…. is all you read, and hear. Well, it sounds good on paper, but see if that is truly the case and works for you and your dog out in the real world.
I have worked with dogs that no matter how tasty the treat, or how hungry they were, even with empty stomachs they still wanted to start with eating other dogs. They just didn’t care for treats. If they could talk, you would hear them say:
1. “I want to eat a chunk of that dog first. Give me my treat as a dessert later.”
2. “I know it’s a treat. So what? I gotta check it out and say hello first.”
3. “Naaaw, I can get treats anytime. You give me the same thing every day for being cute. It’s much more fun to chase cars, kids, cats and squirrels right now.
Don‘t you think it makes more sense to build a foundation using treats first, while still surprising your pooch with treats once in a while, but not all the time? The majority of dog trainers, dog books and dog schools recommend treats for everything. They literally recommend you giving your dog treats, just for being alive.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against treats, but rather against bribery. There is a BIG difference. My program teaches your dog to listen to you because you said so, and because you are the mommy and the master, the buddy and the leader, and most importantly, because of RESPECT, but not fear. This simply means: No yelling, Hitting, Slamming or any Alpha Rolls ( Lifting your dog in the air and slamming it on it’s back, which results in more aggression. Besides, dogs do that to one another, and we are not dogs.)
It’s true that dogs do not accept money and love those tasty treats. I also encourage you to praise your dog and make her proud by lots of petting, belly rubs and that ear massage when she listens and obeys your commands. But you should not always have to use a piece of hot dog, beef jerky or a bacon strip to get the dog’s compliance.
Lets face it, we all appreciate a pat on the shoulder, a hug, a gift or even a thank you card, but if we get them every day and for every minor and stupid reason, soon we will lose interest and it won’t be a big deal for us. In fact, we might even become spoiled and expect it all the time. This is what will happen to your poor dog once you stop giving it those biscuits.
Then why is it that most dog schools will tell you:
- Be sure NOT to feed your dog before bringing it to the class. An obedient dog is a starving dog. Well DUH.
- We want the class to be fun for your dog.
- You want your dog to look at you or your hand signals first. A dog that makes NO eye contact WILL NOT OBEY.
You need to know this fact: Do you want your dog to LOOK AT YOU or listen to you? You got it. You want him to listen to you and respond, no matter what’s going on. Do you really care if your dog sees your cool hand signal? As long as he doesn’t charge after the neighbor’s cat, or tries to pull you toward other dogs is all that really matters anyway.
Besides, most cookie trainers teach and start with group classes. Isn’t this too much for YOU and YOUR dog for it to ignore your treat, even with an empty stomach, in new surroundings, new dogs, and plenty of whimpering, barking, and owners who keep on saying: Sit, SIT, sssssssssssiTTA !!! Siiiiiiiiiiiit…can you sit for mommy?
The shocking truth is: You will most likely end up with a dog that hardly responds without treats. Your dog will be thinking, “Yeah, I know it’s a milk bone, but NOT now. I can get it later.”
Think about it? Is your dog going to be constantly hungry, or are you going to have a pouch of chicken around your waist 24 hours a day and seven days a week? Isn’t depending only on treats a bit impractical and even a bit risky? How about rational? Do you truly see any logic behind it?
Now these trainers’ defenses are usually: “You need to make it fun. Dogs have to make eye contact and then we ask them to obey and do the command by also adding a hand signal.”
“ Go ahead, keep on repeating my name, I will not even look at you, because you will ask me to do a stupid down or that boring SIT. I just don’t feel like it right now….. RUFF”
So the secret is to use treats sometimes and make sure you don’t reduce or add to it. That-my dog lover friends, was…
One of My Most Jealously Guarded Dog Training Secrets. And I just revealed it to you, for FREE and from goodness of my heart.
You see, if you start with treats and wean your dog off them, your dog will stop responding to you, because in a way, you also broke an agreement. “What happened to those days when I used to get a biscuit every time I sat for you? Now I get cookies only once in a blue moon”, is what will be crossing your poor dog’s mind.
Would you still work for your boss/company if they started cutting down your paychecks or stopped paying you period?
It’s just that most dog trainers do not know or do not care about showing you different ways to get results. Sadly, the majority of them DO NOT KNOW. What makes it even more sad is, they are too closed minded to try a different method and they think that one approach fits all dogs. We are talking about trainers who are teaching dog training lessons and actually being paid for it. It’s true.
The reality is, if your dog doesn’t really care for treats, you need to use a bit of force, or see whether it shows any interest in any of its toys, balls, bones, squeak toys, or even a pig’s ear to make him hold eye contact, go to a position, see the hand signals, and without the use of great force. So show off your hand signals, AFTER your dog actually listens to you. This means, don’t break your back by getting in your dog’s face. Don’t keep blocking your dog’s view by standing in front of him, or keep on repeating yourself like a broken record. Watch me. Watch me. HEY look at mommy. Here’s a cookie.
Bribery rarely works out in the real world. This has been proven again and again through years of my research and by working with thousands of dogs.