Why You Should Use Treats While Training Your Dog
Training your dog is not limited to training them to do cool tricks like the ones you see on the internet but includes training them to be well-mannered to other owners and dogs, to be able to follow basic commands, or to improve their behavior.
Although there are various ways to train your dog, dog treats are a form of positive reinforcement through reward and are a powerful training tool. Keep reading to find out why you should use treats when you’re training a dog.
Gives Your Dog Something to Look Forward To
Giving your dog treats during training sessions when they comply with commands gives your dog something to look forward to and motivates them to learn what you want them to do, especially in the early stages of training. This is because treats are new and different from what they are usually given during mealtime.
Keeps Your Dog from Getting Distracted When Training in Unfamiliar Surroundings
Furthermore, training your dog in unfamiliar surroundings or places with other people or dogs may serve as a distraction to your dog’s training. For example, treats can help you to master the art of dog walking. In such cases, a single piece of dog kibble will not be sufficient and dog treats will help keep your dog focused during training sessions.
Boosts Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs and Addresses Health Issues
Treats do not necessarily have to be unhealthy for your dog’s health. Instead of purchasing “empty” treats which your dog may enjoy but have no real nutritional value in them, you can give treats that are packed with benefits and vitamins. Additionally, you may use treats that are lower in fat and calories for overweight dogs, treats that are rich in protein and calories for an active dog, or even treats that target muscle and joint care for aging dogs. Always consult your veterinarian for any deficiency your dog may have to ensure that your dogs’ nutritional needs are being met and boosted.
Achieves Long-Term Results Without Your Dog Being Overly Dependent on Them
Training your dog by giving them treats after they have complied with your command is a powerful form of reinforcement and does not equate to bribery. Such reinforcement will ensure your dog continues to comply with the trained command even as you wean your dog off treats subsequently.
A concern amongst many dog owners is that giving treats to their dogs during training sessions may result in their dogs becoming overly dependent and only complying when they are given treats. Despite being a real concern, it is not as difficult to wean your dog off treats as it seems.
As the training progresses, and your dog gets more accustomed, you may begin by giving your dog fewer treats when they comply with a command to adjust their expectations.
Alternatively, you can implement a reward lottery system by occasionally rewarding good behavior with treats while praising your dog at the start and end of the session. By doing this, you can reduce the number of treats over time until your dog can obey your commands without the use of treats.