People often say to my dogs, “OMG, you get a lot of treats.” Sometimes they go a step further and elaborate to the dog, “Too many treats will make you FAT.”
Let’s clear up a few misconceptions. Yes, OMG my dogs get a LOT of treats. No, my dogs are not fat. Why not?
1 – I am not using cupcakes.
Maybe some people think corn chips and cupcakes are treats. It’s their midnight snack. I call those junk. Fresh veggies from the garden are a treat. Likewise, my dogs get a variety of healthy, yet tasty, food options. Those often include various dog foods, organic meats, vegetables and cheese. My dog’s “treats” are probably healthier than your supper.
2 – Inedible rewards.
Asking a dog to sit prior to opening the door is a “treat.” You have opposable thumbs. You can open the door. The dog gets the treat of an excursion. Life offers plenty of zero calorie treats such as tug games, fetch and play. Many include exercise and activities that help dogs stay healthy and fit.
3 – Clarity through consistency.
During the initial stages of training, dogs are deciphering the rules. Rewarding good behaviour some of the time, and ignoring it other times confuses the dog. I want to take advantage of every opportunity to get my message across as quickly and efficiently as possible. So yes, OMG I use a lot of treats because I want the dog trained quickly.
4 – Proper technique means fewer treats.
Consistent feedback during training means the dog understands expectations quickly. Once this happens, I can wean dogs away from food rewards. Hit and miss feedback ironically means MORE treats because you need to feed for longer periods.
5 – Lack of carrots leads to sticks.
Many dogs try to be good. When it goes unnoticed, they misbehave. OMG I do use a lot of treats so I can avoid using OMG a lot of punishments.
I personally have no problem listening to the OMG, you use a lot of treats dig. I know my dog is not FAT. Like water off a duck’s back, I persevere. A properly executed training plan gives fast and effective results. While some people sneer, I am gloating knowing that the wiggling, friendly dog they are insulting used to be aggressive. OMG – I did use a lot of treats. Look at the results. Pretty impressive eh?
To all the people that are actively training their dogs, ignore the peanut gallery. They are the same people that will say, “OMG you should do something about that” when your dog misbehaves.
How would they feel if you dared to suggest that OMG – they get paid a LOT? Teachers should coach after school sports for free. Maybe musicians should play free gigs. After all, they love to play music. Funny, it sounds OMG insulting when the tables are turned.
That is why you should never feel badly about training your dog, especially if it includes proper techniques, healthy food choices and exercise options. OMG, you’re right I do use a lot of treats because OMG, I want my dog trained quickly and effectively.