When 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 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 are 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.
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.
So 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.
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.