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treats for training?

August 17th, 2007, 03:23 PM
what are the positives and negative for using treats while training? and what are the positvies and negatives for not using treats and should i just use praise to reward if i am not using treats? any help would be great. thanks :)

August 17th, 2007, 07:15 PM
Hi Allymack!
I have a 5 month old pup on the go. I think it comes down to what you think is good---not much help am I??

Seriously-- from my standpoint, I use treats because I get results. From the time I received my pup at 8 weeks, she learned very quickly that if she pleased me she got a treat. I always used a happy tone and pet her and told her "good girl" at the same time. So, as she conquers more and more tasks, I am alternating treats and praise. Sometimes she looks at me as if I ripped her off, but she carries on. Goal is to give treats for special occasions only.,so I am cutting down on a taper basis. I give good natural treats and I don't have a problem with my dogs getting them.
Cons- could produce a dog that begs from everyone. Hasn't happened with my dogs-they know who to go to for "the goods" and I determine when and if they get one. Another con-weight. I choose the smallest cookies I can get and still break them down. Also- I use their dog "kibble" as treats. fruits/veg are also good choices.

August 17th, 2007, 08:10 PM
Freeze-dried liver pieces seem to be a popular training treat:

August 17th, 2007, 09:02 PM
my puppy is 5 months old as well,(border collie) so he is naturally quite smart but i am just not sure if he will still come to me out of respect if i use treats so i think your idea of altering treats and praise should help with that. i will also think about getting all natural treats dont want him to be a pudgy you mean you use kibble as everyday treats or do you get him to do something and then give him a bit of kibble( like for his supper) and continue that untill his food is gone? thanks for all your help :thumbs up

August 17th, 2007, 09:47 PM
You might want to check out this info on "Lure Reward Training" ( by Dr. Ian Dunbar, it goes into great detail about how and when to appropriately use treats, praise, play etc as training aids. Here's an excerpt:

The ďartĒ of lure/reward training very much depends on the trainerís choice and effective use of an effective lure. The lure can be any item or action that reliably causes the dog to respond appropriately. Obviously, the trainer and the trainerís body movements are the very best lures (and rewards), with interactive toys coming a close second. However, for pet owners, food is generally the best choice for both lures and rewards. Again, pet owners are not yet dog trainers, but they need to train their dog right away using the easiest and quickest technique.

Food lures should not be used for more than half a dozen trials. The prolonged use of the same item as both lures and rewards comes pretty close to bribing ó wherein the dogís response will become contingent on whether or not the owner has food in her hand. Either completely go cold turkey on food lures after just six trials, or use different items as lures and rewards. For example, use food to lure the dog to sit but a tennis ball retrieve as a reward. Or, use a hand signal to lure the sit but an invitation to the couch as a reward. Regardless of what you choose as lures and rewards, always commence each sequence with the verbal request.

For pet owners, dry kibble is the standard choice for both lures and rewards. Weigh out the daily ration each morning and keep it in a screw-top jar to be handfed as lures and rewards in the course of the day. Freeze-dried liver is reserved for special uses: rewards for housetraining, lures for chwtoys, lures for Shush, occasional lures and rewards for men and children to use, and for classical conditioning (to children, men, other dogs, motorcycles, and other scary stuff).

August 17th, 2007, 10:00 PM
thanks, the article helped alot :)

August 18th, 2007, 07:29 AM
In keeping with the tone of the above article, I use treats as rewards when shaping/re-enforcing a behavior. My dogs are now two, and all the old cues are just habit now, when I speak, they do it, not because they'll get a treat, but because its what I asked for. That's not to say I don't still have treats, because I do, we are still learning new things, and every once and a while, a regular cue like sit or down gets a treat as well.

August 19th, 2007, 02:36 PM
At our agility classes some dogs would not respond to food treats. For them a bit of play with a favourite toy worked instead. Gee, did you guess that they were the Border Collies?

August 19th, 2007, 06:38 PM
haha never would have guessed that:thumbs up lol kidding but thanks fir the advice

August 19th, 2007, 07:00 PM
I am new at using treats, but here is something to think about. I have a puppy in puppy obedience class. One thing I see good about the treats is using them to break down commands in steps. For down, we first use treat/hand signal for sit. Then the trainor is having us connect this into a down. First "sit"-show treat/hand signal but not give. Then use connector word like "yes", and turn hand over with treat and bring hand to ground in front of puppy and a little away from puppy. When puppy is in down, then give treat. The size of treat given is very small. I have a soft stick treat that I cut up into 15-20 pieces.