Treat training – Positive reinforcement dog training
There are few things more impressive than a well trained bully. It elicits oohs and aahs from neighbors and relatives. The bully that is well behaved does wonders in defeating stereotypes and misconceptions about the breed.
The opposite can be said for the out of control bully. Seeing a bully Breed act up in public, whether it be over excited exuberance, or a total disregard for an owners commands can lead to the general public thinking the worst of the breed and it’s owners.
Now a well behaved bully doesn’t have to be a card carrying member of Mensa, but a grasp of basic commands goes a long way in changing public perception about the breed.
Today we are going to discuss one of the tried and true ways to get your bully to the head of the class. Treat training has been used to train dogs for as long as animals have been domesticated.
A lot of animals are motivated through food as a positive reinforcement dog training method. Whether it be the horse with the carrot in front of it’s face, or the lion being baited through a burning hoop, food is an excellent motivator.
Now not every dog is food driven, but enough are that even the most novice dog trainer can look like a seasoned dog expert with the right dog and the right treat! Now don’t start marketing yourself as the next Caeser Milan, let’s get the pup to sit first!
Why does food work as a positive reinforcement dog training technique? There are a number of reasons that food works, but the most basic reason is a dog senses! From smell, to taste, to sight! A good smelling treat will quickly get the most uninterested dog, suddenly military alert at the smell of it’s favorite treat! Focus and attention are the main attributes needed to train an animal.
The fact that food motivation is spotted and detected at a very young age, owners can use it from the moment the puppy comes to the house and learns it’s new surroundings and it’s first right from wrongs with positive reinforcement dog training. The ability to say a word and then produce a treat is magic to a young bully. In fact impromptu training sessions with treats are some of the quickest ways to get your dog focus on you and your hands. Incorporating hand gestures with verbal commands is also easily done with a tasty treat!
Why are some trainers against treat training as a positive reinforcement dog training? The main reason that some trainers are against treat based training is that the feel that the dog is focused on a treat and not the actual command. Their argument is that the best treat trained animal is almost worthless once they know their owner does not possess a treat.
The dog will become disinterested and ignore commands, due to the fact they only perform for the reward and not the request of it’s owner. Because of this they feel that the dog is not trained, but conditioned to be fed after a command or positive reinforcement dog training. If the owner is out in public without a fanny pack of treats, or a pocket full of hot dogs the animal may not respond to it’s owner, which in turn will create a situation where your bully is now a problem.
These arguments are not entirely unfounded, but the fact are owners can easily blend in head pats with morsel rewards. Treats can lead to toys, and playtime. It is still the quickest way to catch a puppies attention and making them learn the process of learning,which is literally the early building blocks to an obedience champion.
Positive reinforcement dog training with food is also a great trust building tool and it’s well documented that food has been used with adult dogs that are newly adopted, as well as feral animals that were denied all socialization time as puppies. Treats are great in a number ways, but if an owner doesn’t also use other methods of praise dogs can grow bored and uninterested in learning and obeying commands.
Treats are also great because of the ease in which they can be found, or in some instances created. You can purchase dog treats from any grocery store, pet store or gas station. There are numerous treats on the market.
Some are marketed as simply snacks, others as training tools, and others as nutritious vitamin supplements. People have been known to use cheese, hit dogs, cheese puffs, or beef jerky! The latest craze is to create your own, by quick baking methods. The key is to find a treat that your dog absolutely goes bonkers for and utilize it in your training activities!
I recommend using training treats only during training and not as a regular treat. The other essential part of using treats is to make sure your pet always does something to earn a treat from your hand. I have always made my dogs, sit, down or stay before they are fed. Just as another opportunity to work on our commands and focus!
What do you do if your dog is just not food motivated? Well it may not be the end of the world! Some dogs love praise, others toys and others just love playtime! The key to positive reinforcement dog training is to find what works best for your bully! The great thing is eventually the most picky of pets will find a food that they absolutely love and the training achieved from this new treat will be a pleasant surprise for you and your bully! So get involved, mix it up and create your next best friend and Bully Crusader!