Giving Your Dog Treats: When and Why

Posted in Training Tips

We were in Aventura last week working with a Home Dog Training client and his Greyhound named Willie.  The initial dog training issues we were called out to address were jumping, excessive barking, counter surfing, and running out the front door.  This was our third visit and all of these issues had been resolved.  Our client was really excited about the results so we started to work on some of Willie’s secondary issues such as leash pulling and digging in the back yard.  We had a great session and our client looked forward to the next session in a couple of weeks.  As I was walking out the door, he asked one more question.  “What do you feel about giving Willie treats?”.

The question of giving dogs treats is always an interesting question and the answers are often misunderstood.  As we have stated in the past, Robin and I are behavioral trainers and try to focus our teaching efforts on addressing and modifying the dog’s natural cognitive process.  We view treats as one of many directive tools to help enhance the owner’s needs and human/canine relationship.

When thinking about treats and dogs, the best way to start is to understand why you should not give a dog a treat.  You should never give a dog as treat for good behavior.  For example, your dog is barking and jumping on you and you stop him from doing it.  He is now quietly sitting near you and you give him a treat.  You think this is a good thing, right?  In a few minutes, why is your dog barking and jumping on you again?

Dogs have a very simple, causational learning process.  It is very direct and actually quite exceptional in it’s efficient, unique simplicity.  We (humans) have a more complicated learning and thought process.  We can understand that the reason for the treat was based on the successful completion of a learning process that ended in good behavior.  On the other hand, the dog simply sees that if he jumps and barks on you, he will get a treat.  The part in the middle, the corrective process, is simply a path to the treat.

So, please be aware that you could be exacerbating the bad behavior by making the end result of your educational corrective process a goodie or treat.

Next, let’s discuss the makeup of the treat.  Many dog owners spend a good amount of money on special goodies that come in nice packages that say “Treat” on them.  Your dog can’t read and your dog does not go over the ingredients of what you are giving him.  A treat is nothing special; it is just another piece of food.

As your dog’s owner, protector, mentor, and best friend; one of your responsibilities is to keep him nourished.  This means you need to properly feed him.  Since you are the boss, you decide when to feed him.  Remember that your dog views breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks (treats) simply as food.  To this said, you can give him a treat (just food) whenever YOU WANT.  Never let him beg or demand food, that is not his place and is disrespectful towards your leadership.  So if you want to give him a treat (just food) on your terms, that is fine.

Once we understand that our dogs view dog treats as just another form of food and that it is our responsibility when to feed them, our relationship with them becomes clear and respectful. You can reach us at (954) 424-0170 with any dog training questions you may have.  There is much more dog information at Best Dog Trainers Aventura South Florida.  You can also get ahold of us by going to Dog Training Help Center Aventura South Florida.

I have written many dog training periodicals that are available on Original Dog Training Tips from Home Dog Training Aventura South Florida and Dog Training Documents from Home Dog Training Aventura South Florida. These are all great articles because they are based on Robin’s and my actual dog training lessons.

Robin and I are pleased to be your local dog training authorities for over eleven years.  We are constantly going to Vet Clinics all over Broward County and find that they always recommend our services to their clients. We not only solve general dog behavior and obedience problems; in addition, we fix special issues like dogs running away.  We have united our dog training approaches with our invisible dog fence system from Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® to make sure your dog stays in the yard and on your property.  We are offering a 100% free, in-home consultation and guaranteed price quote if you go to Dog Guard Out of Sight Dog Fence Aventura South Florida or call 954-472-4724.