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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Dog Will Only Work When He/She Knows I Have Treats

If our dogs seem to only want to work or perform behaviors when we have food, some possible issues to address are bribing, salient cues, and/or luring.

-- If we show a treat then ask for the behavior, we might be bribing. Nothing wrong with an occasional bribe. But if we don't want to create dependency, we should wait for the desired behavior, then provide the treat.

Salient Cues
- Our dogs are smart. If they hear plastic crinkling or see our hands in treat bags, it's almost like bribing. They learn cues that food is coming.
You might need to get treats out of the treat bag (see "The Hamburger Tree" in the video)

- Luring is a great dog training method. But we should fade lures as quickly as possible.

We can (and should) still use food for training but we just need to be careful with those dogs who look for treats before performing behaviors.

Of course we can use other rewards as well - like toys, opening doors, etc.. Rewards are in the eye of the beholder.

See more details in the video below

Have you had any issues with treats? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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