Food Rewards To Train A Dog- To Use or Not?

By | November 10, 2014

When training your dog is it alright to make use of food? Rather does making use of food amount to cheating when training a dog? This is a very common concern which most new dog owners worry about. Worry because they are not only concerned about using food as bait but also not very confident about training their dog in the first place.

In this post I am going to explain some details which will take some of the dog owners completely by surprise. It may be contrary to what they would have heard from other dog owners, friends or read up on the internet.

When I got my pup home and started training it, my colleague who already owned a dog advised me never to use food to get a dog to respond. His logic was that once a dog is trained with food it will listen to you only if you have food in your hand. This is not right. Doggy Dan, the world famous dog trainer from, advises that initially it is ok to train a dog by showing food as a reward.


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Why start dog training with food?

The purpose of training a dog is to ensure that it responds to your commands. So there is absolutely no harm in using food when you start your training. Once your dog learns to respond to your commands without thinking about it, you can gradually fade out the food.

Fading the food during dog training is a very crucial aspect and is also referred to as using ‘random rewards’ by professional dog trainers. Fading the food involves simple little steps detailed below

a)start giving your dog the treat from inside your hand so that it is not able to see it.
b)Rather than rewarding each and every time start rewarding your pup or dog only every 2nd time
c)Switch over to reward only every 3rd time and gradually decrease the frequency of rewards
d)Finally space out the rewards with the aim of making it random reward in definition and practice too.

There is a frequently heard myth about using food to train a dog: – dogs should just be happy to work for you without any food rewards.

People who may not have formally trained a dog often believe this. Also dog owners who believe in making use of force and fear to train a dog do not prefer luring dogs with food during the obedience training sessions. However this is considered a myth and in today’s environment pets too are treated with respect, love and care.

Gone are the days when dogs were trained forcefully. Majority of dog trainers nowadays do believe that there should be some reward at the end of a hard training session for a dog.

Now what the reward should be is something that can be debated upon. Some dogs are easy to please and the reward they expect for obeying commands may be as simple as being petted or cuddled.

One the other hand there is another category of dogs who constantly think about what their next meal is going to be. This category of dogs (although may like to be patted, cuddled and played with) need much more than being cuddled to obey commands. You can lure these dogs and get them to do what you want with the help of food treats.

To conclude

Rather than worrying about using food treats to train a dog, feel free to do so!

Ensure that you make efforts to start to fading out the rewards after a reasonable period of time. You will be able to judge on your own after a month or two of training when to start the fading.

Finally there will come a point when you give food treats to your dog only every 5th or 10th time and eventually no treat at all.

Do the fading at your own pace depending upon how well your dog responds to the treat being withdrawn.

Trust information in this post has cleared up a few things about whether to use food treats while training a dog or not.

In our next post we will provide details on how to boost the effect of using food rewards and also tell you which food treats will get the results you desire.

Food treats to train a pup or dog is just one of many aspects of training a dog. In case you are looking for a comprehensive dog training solution program replete with action, videos on a whole lot of issues pertaining to dogs it may be worthwhile for you to check out Doggy Dan’s complete dog and puppy training Website. Dan is currently giving you a $1 trial of the site for 3 days! To get your access now please CLICK HERE

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