Should You Use Food To Train Your Dog

Should You Use Food To Train Your DogWhen training your dog have you asked yourself is using food cheating? Will your dog be more responsive to you only when you give him or her a treat?

Using food is a powerful tool, a method many people are not clear in their minds and yet it is a powerful method to understand when used properly and simple to master.

To understand how to train a dog using treats and when to use it as food to train your dog, the best advice is from a professional dog trainer, not from other dog owners in the park.

Most Say Never Use Food

What most people say is that you should never use food to train your dog to respond to you. Your dog will only listen to you if you have food in your hand. This is simply not true.

Why Use Food

The reason you should use food in training your dog is because once your dog learned to respond to your command and gets it, you can simply gradually reduce the use of food.

Fading food is an important concept and is also referred to as random rewards. Basically, this works by giving your dog a treat from inside your hand so they cannot see it. You then slowly reward them a little less each time spacing out the treats until you have reduced it to become random rewards.

The idea is to get your dog focused on awaiting your next command without expecting to be given treats for good behavior.

Another Myth

Another myth about using food is…dogs should be happy to follow your command without any food rewards. I have heard this said and I have noticed that people who express this concept are people who do not own or have no dog training experience, who believe in using a lot of force, fear, and aggression in their training. Their approach is the’ old school’ way, that dogs should just be obedient or else.

Let’s take a moment and think about this…How long would you work for nothing? My guess would be ‘not for long!’ For many dogs that is exactly how they see it.

Not All Dogs Need Food Treats

In fact, not all dogs need food treats, every dog is different. Some dogs areNot All Dogs Need Food Treats just happy to please and rewards are optional. For these, all they want is loving affection and attention from their owners. And there are those who are always thinking about food. This is a dog that will obey your command awaiting a reward.

A dog who just wants to please there may be no need to use food rewards once he understands what you want. However, a dog who does not care for your cuddles, pats or their ball when they are actively playing at the park with other dogs will benefit from some very tactical food training.

Less Rewards

At this point, you are probably thinking that you will always end up using food treats for your dog all the time, but this is not what we aim to do. As I mentioned earlier when you have a good understanding of how to fade out food treats and use a boost-affect to maximize the use of treats, a different topic you will soon discover, you will notice your dog responding to you very quickly each time.

Reward Your DogSo next time you and your dog are out, feel free to use food as a reward when your dog does something good. Do not concern yourself with what others are saying.

Also, remember to begin fading out your treats over a long period of time…There is no need to rush through this. Allow it some time, and I mean months, not days.

Eventually, you may only need to use food rewards every 5th time and then every 20th time…

If you worry about your dog eating too much then simply just take it out of their dinner so their daily intake remains the same.

I hope this helps clear some things about using food. It is always going to be the number one reward for your dog.

On the next article, I will discuss how to boost the effect of using food as rewards and go into a little more regarding which food treats will get the best results.

More Information

If you want more information you can access it now on this website, The Online Dog Trainer. Reading about it can only get you so far. If you want to see it all in action, with videos then I suggest checking the Doggy Dan complete dog and puppy training website.

I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions or want to leave a comment please post it below.

14 thoughts on “Should You Use Food To Train Your Dog”

  1. Great post. I always train my dog with treats, I don’t think she would learn otherwise, she’s always motivated by food. Although I do reduce the treats when I train her and don’t give her one everytime she does what I ask, I praise her instead and then maybe the next time give her a treat. I don’t see the harm in training your dog like this and glad you cleared up some of the myths.

  2. Following the advice of qualified dog trainers is definitely the best way to go. And using treats has always been a super effective way for my own dog. Having that instant, positive reinforcement once the dog obeys sends a strong message to you dog: follow my command and you will be happy with the results!

    I find the concept of random reward really interesting. I’m going to have to start using that as well. Thanks!

    1. Hi Nick,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Definitely a good method to work with your dogs and establish a good relationship between you and your dog, happy.

      Keep up the good work.

  3. Interesting article.

    I have always been an advocate of not using food, and instead using encouragement and even toys. This seems to encourage friendly behavior and the dog will do anything to try and receive that pat on the head.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Some dogs don’t require food treats. Some will just do what you want them to do and just wait to receive a pat or attention and they’re happy. Then there are the dogs who all they think about is food. I will post more info regarding food treats on my next post.

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.

  4. Really great info. It is good to know the right way to properly use food to train dogs. I would have used food to train the dog. I have to be mindful on how often I give that treat and use the fading technique.. Thank you for this very informative post.

  5. Hi Rosa,
    Thank you so much for providing these helpful tips. I have cats myself and no dogs but everything you say here on dog training is wonderful advice. I do like the idea of using food as a reward, it just shows love and respect for your pet. Thanks for this, really well done.

    1. Hi Peter,

      I’m so glad you found these tips very help. My goal is to help people provide the best for their pets.

      Thank you so much for your comment.

  6. I was against using food, but then I read your guide. I decided to give it a shot and I have really found it to work quite well. My pup still doesn’t obey at times, and I feel it’s because I’ve been too inconsistent. It’s a learning process for us all.

    Great write-up as always,

    – Nehpets

    1. Hi Nehpets,

      Thank you for the comment. I’m glad to hear this tip worked for you. Yes, it is a process which will take a little time.

      Great work!

  7. I have always used treats to train my dogs. Most dogs are very food motivated, so it works well. However, I have been guilty of giving too many treats for good behavior.

    1. Hi Sandra,

      We all love our pets and would always want to reward them for good behavior. There’s nothing wrong with this. The idea is to use food treats as a tool to train your dog where you no longer need to use treats. But of course, you do this for awhile until it becomes random rewards. I posted an article that explains more about random rewards.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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