Have you ever asked yourself whether or not using food is cheating
when training your dog? If you have, then I can promise you that you
are not alone.
It’s something that many people never actually get clear in their minds
and yet it is one of the most powerful topics to understand and also very
simple to master!
What I am about to explain in this article will almost certainly surprise
you but also make total sense. It will contradict some of the things that
you have heard through the grapevine, but getting tips from other dog owners
at the park is not always the best place to get your dog training advice
Once you have read this I’m sure that both you and your dog will have a
better understanding and appreciation for each other.
Firstly, let’s look at the comment that you should never use food to get
your dog to respond to you because your dog will then only listen to you
if you have food in your hand. This is simply not true. Doggy Dan, the world
famous dog trainer from TheOnlineDogTrainer.com, tells me his dogs
listen to him whether he has food or not, yet he trained them all initially with food rewards.
If you would like to take a look at Doggy Dan’s complete dog and puppy
training site for $1 then you can!
Dan gives everyone a $1 trial of the site for 3 days! To get YOUR
access now just CLICK HERE:
The reason you can start by using food is because once your dog has
learned to respond to your command without thinking about it, you simply
fade the food out gradually.
Fading the food out is such an important concept, and is also referred to
as using ‘random rewards’. In a nutshell you simply start giving your dog
the treat from inside your hand so they can’t see it. Then you slowly start to
reward only every 2nd and then every 3rd time. Eventually you can
space out the treats until they become random rewards.
In a separate article I’ll explain how to boost your results with the
random rewards and leave your dog totally focused and awaiting your
next command without using up all your food too fast! So look out for that one…
The second myth about using food is this: dogs should just be happy to
work for you without any food rewards. I have heard this said and I have
noticed that it’s nearly always said by people who have not owned or trained
many dogs or by people who are quite happy to use a lot of force, fear
and aggression in their training. In a way, this approach was the “old school”
way – that dogs should just be obedient or else.
Well the way I see it is this… How long would you work for nothing? Not
long I am guessing! And for many dogs that’s exactly how they see it.
They get bored working so hard with absolutely no reward in return.
Now not all dogs need food treats, some dogs are just so happy to
please and with them the rewards are optional. However put very
simply, dogs are all different. There are those who’ll do anything you ask
with a smile on their face, and those who are always thinking about their next meal.
With a dog who just wants to please there may be no need to use food
rewards once they have understood what you want. On the other hand,
dogs who do not care for your pats, cuddles or their ball when they are
racing around the park playing with other dogs are the ones that will
seriously benefit from some very tactical food training.
By now you’re probably thinking that you always end up giving your
dogs food treats, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! As I mentioned
earlier when you understand how to fade out your food treats and use
a boost-effect to maximize the use of your treats
(which is another topic I’ll cover soon), you too will find your dog responding to you lightening fast every time.
So next time you are out with your dog feel free to use food as a reward
when they do something good and don’t worry about anybody telling
you otherwise.But also remember to start to fading out the rewards over a long period
of time. There is no rush though, and we are talking months not days!
Eventually you may end up only using the food rewards every 5th time,
then every 20th time…
And by the way, if you’re worried about them eating too much, simply
take it out of their dinner so their total amount eaten during the day
stays the same.
Hopefully that helps clear a few things up about the use of food. It’s
always going to be the number one reward for most dogs.
Soon I’ll explain how to boost the effect of using food rewards and also
go into a little more about exactly which food treats will get the best
results. Again I can promise you that this simple trick will make you smile.
Of course if you are wanting a total dog training solution, reading about
it can only get you so far. If you want to see it all in action, with videos
then I suggest that you check out Doggy Dan’s complete dog and puppy training