Training your Dog without Treats – A Challenge
I must be feeling motivated this week, because not only have I started a Facebook challenge but I also want to set you the challenge of training your dog without treats.
Dog training without treats is important because it helps you teach your dog to listen to you even when you don’t have food on hand. Whilst treats are a helpful tool in getting our dogs to learn new commands, pay attention to them and obey them, they can be something of a crutch. We don’t want our dogs to only listen to us when we have a piece of dried liver for them; it’s not practical or realistic.
When teaching your dog new commands, it is fine to start off by using lots of treats if your dog is food motivated. After all, it is the quickest and easiest way to encourage them and instill new behaviours in a positive way. However, once the dog has a good grasp on the command, you should start to slowly phase the treats out and substitute them for praise or play.
Reward based training without treats or food may sound difficult, but it needn’t be. Dogs care about so much more than food, and the thing that they care most about? It’s you. By showering them with praise, affection and play time with you, they are getting an incredible reward for listening and obeying commands – your appreciation and attention. No treat dog training leads to not only a better behaved pet, but one which is happy and closely bonded to its owner.
No Treat Dog Training Challenge
My challenge to you is to do one dog training session without treats, every day for a week. So grab your dog’s favourite toy and get to it! Training your dog without treats works in just the same way as training with food aids – ask your dog a command and when they comply you simply offer play time with their toy, or give them lots of affection and praise instead of handing them something tasty to munch. Make sure that you are sincere in your praise – dogs are great at spotting when you’re faking it – and be really excitable and impressed with them, so they think they have done something truly wonderful.
Bruce and I are going to be joining in on the no treat training challenge too, check up on our progress and let us know how you are getting on over on Twitter with the hashtag #notreatchallenge.