Is It Bad To Use Treats During Dog Training?

Author: Vebo Pet Supplies   Date Posted:1 March 2018 

This comes up frequently in discussions and there are a LOT of misleading information out there. So let's look at a few common misunderstood concepts about treats out there.


(1) Treats are bribes, therefore your dog will only listen to you when you have them

Depending on how treats are given, it could either be an "reinforcer" or a "bribe". If you show the treat first to get the desired behaviour, it is a bribe. You are doing it wrong because it gradually builds a bad habit where your dog needs to see a treat before doing anything. On the other hand, if you only show/give a treat after the dog has performed a task, it is a reward / reinforcer and you would not need to give it every time.


(2) Dogs are supposed to work without treats simply they want to please you

Some "experts" like to suggest that dogs simply want to please you so much, that you shouldn't need treats. Unfortunately, the idea that your relationship with your dog is so one-sided, that you dog will do everything for no tangible rewards, is a fairy tale. You may be able to use praise or a pat on the head as a reward, but that would generally require a good working relationship with your dog to begin with. To be able to do that consistently with untrained puppies is highly unlikely.


(3) Treats are just for tricks, but not for "real" training

Surprisingly some professional trainers believe this and tell people about it.  Just how do dogs work with what is "real training" and what is just mucking around? How would they know when they need to take one more seriously than others?


At the end of the day, treats are just a tool to assist with dog training, while they are many available tools, it is the most commonly used and perhaps the easiest for new owners/puppies to start with. So as long as you understand how to (and how not to) use it, there is nothing wrong with doing it.


**Some contents are based on articles from Dog Star Daily

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