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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are your opinions on treats as a method of training?

Personally id prefer the animal to behave without bribing them which works well for us - just wondered if anyone could persuade me??
 

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If it works well with no treats for you then great! Keep going with that, no need to change! However, some dogs are harder to train. I have to use treats for mine. Chazz loves his toys but cant be trained with them! Getting used to Missy, but she responded well with treats this morning, and cause I use them with chazz not fair on her if i try to use something else!
 

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hi,
whatever works....with treats and fuss works quicker!
as long as the method is by positively encourage your pooch when it does well and ignore or withdraw yourself from it when it doesn't it right.... they'll get very soon the jist of what works...in other words....playing is the key (with treats or without).
shouting and beating is a no-no as it may produce fear-based impredictable reactions....
as long as you're both having fun!
best
D
 

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I don't see it as bribing them, more rewarding them. Yes, when you have a young pup you may use treats to lure, but they are faded out, then treats are given randomly as a reward, they may not even be kept on me. I look at it this way, we wouldn't go to work if we weren't going to be paid for it, so why do we expect our dogs to do something without a reward, whether it be treats, a stroke, a game with a toy, whatever the dog likes. As I said for an older dog the food wouldn't be on show and it wouldn't be given 1 for everything, in fact if you do do that then the dogs are less likely to do anything unless they see the food.
 

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What are your opinions on treats as a method of training?

Personally id prefer the animal to behave without bribing them which works well for us - just wondered if anyone could persuade me??
This is an unbelieveably common misconception - do you work for free? Well do't expect your dog to either!

Reward based training (or indeed any training for that matter) is not about treats - its about motivation.
You can either motivate the student to do something or to not do something.

'Positive' training is about teaching the dog what to do rather than what not to do. We do that using whatever is the best motivator for that individual in that situation - what does the dog want access to - then have him earn it.

If you use motivators properly there is no bribery - if you do it incorrectly bribing may be an issue but sometimes bribery is used but in quite a specific way.

Whether you use motivators that the dog wants access to wants to avoid - there is another type of learning going on: classical conditioning. This changes the dogs feeling about a specific situation and all the stimuli within it. By using motivators that the dog wants access to you are also forming an emotional/reflexsive association to the trainer, the training exercise, the training cues, the entire scenario.

Rather than me trying to convince you why don't you do a little research into how animals learn and how motivation works :D - this is not mysterious, mystical stuff lots and lots and lots of work has been done on this and sooooo much is available to read about ;)
 

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What are your opinions on treats as a method of training?

Personally id prefer the animal to behave without bribing them which works well for us - just wondered if anyone could persuade me??
So are you really saying you don't even say 'good boy/girl' when they do as asked? I don't know many people who actually go and get a treat then ask their dog to do something for it. Most have some small bits of kibble in their pocket, ask a command and reward when it is done correctly. Just like you will with praise or the tone of your voice, but some dogs respond to food better than they do verbal or physical praise, they connect being given a treat more with having done well that being given a fuss or told they are good etc.

I know I've never sat with a treat in my hand then asked Roo to do something, he is asked and then rewarded when he does it, its not a bribe :rolleyes:
 

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This is an unbelieveably common misconception - do you work for free? Well do't expect your dog to either!
completely agree. i don't see it as bribery, it's a reward. yes, I use treats because my dog is more likely to work for me when I have treats than when i don't. I personally don't mind this, as I wouldn't work for no treat either. I take treats everywhere with me so I don't see it as a problem. he's not going to competition or anywhere where treats aren't allowed, so I don't see a reason to stop using them.
 

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completely agree. i don't see it as bribery, it's a reward. yes, I use treats because my dog is more likely to work for me when I have treats than when i don't. I personally don't mind this, as I wouldn't work for no treat either. I take treats everywhere with me so I don't see it as a problem. he's not going to competition or anywhere where treats aren't allowed, so I don't see a reason to stop using them.
Ah but there are lots of reasons that this can be a problem - don't get me wrong, I am all about positive reinforcement but there is progression in learning that should lead to the reduction and eventual elimination of external rewards. The behaviour should have such a reinforcement history built up that eventually carrying out the behaviour itself is intrinsically rewarding.

I am not saying discontinue using rewards, treats whatever but maintaining behaviours is most efficiently done through the reduction of external rewards.

This is where the all powerful classical conditioning comes in - the A-B-C of learning has become a chain leading to a yummy so associated so that A becomes a reward in itself:

'sit' - dog sits - treat right? so eventually the word sit is so strongly associated with the treat as is the action that they themselves, through classical conditioning are rewarding.

Dr Dunbar writes and lectures on this as it seems to be his main bug-bear even though (and prob because) it is he who brought reward based pet training to the fore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks for all the responses. My dogs do get treats but its never really because they have sat for me etc its just cos i love them and i give them loads of positive encouragement too. i suppose im a little worried of feeding them too much and them becoming dependent on it. ill do some more reading on it :)

but whatever works for everyone thats cool :)
 

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thanks for all the responses. My dogs do get treats but its never really because they have sat for me etc its just cos i love them and i give them loads of positive encouragement too. i suppose im a little worried of feeding them too much and them becoming dependent on it. ill do some more reading on it :)

but whatever works for everyone thats cool :)
I think its more when they are younger people dish out the treats a bit more as rewards, ie. when learning how to sit/down/stay ;) At over 18 months my dog gets bugger all, his best treat is a carrot every few days :laugh:

If Roo does get a few treats like a kong he just gets a bit less tea, once in a while will be OK though I bet you will be able to notice if they get too many!
 

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i have always used treats with my dogs, but im trying not to use them AS MUCH with kody. he doesnt always get something.
but im still using them as rewards. :)
 

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I think there are two issues here:

1) Treats does not necessarily = bribery. It totally depends on how they are used.

If you a trying to teach a brand new behaviour and using a treat to encourage the dog into the correct position (without using physical force) then you are using the treat as a lure.

If you can give a known cue, the dog obeys, and you give a treat afterwards then you are using the treat as a reward. The most effective method is a random reward schedule (ie you do not treat every time). You can improve the behaviour by only treating the very best responses, eg the quickest or most accurate. Eventually, when the dog reaches the standard you want, you phase out the treats completely. Contrary to popular belief the owners / handlers of dogs trained properly using food rewards do NOT need to carry treats around at all times, because once the behaviour is learned the treats are rarely if ever used.

If you overuse treats when teaching a new behaviour, then you may find the dog will not follow a cue unless it knows you have a treat ready for it. In such cases you might show the dog the treat before or during giving the cue. This would be using the treat as a bribe. This of course does result in a dog that will only work for treats, and tends to be pretty ineffective.

2) All dogs are different. A "reward" or "reinforcer" is determined by the dog, not the trainer. The most effective will therefore be the one that that individual dog likes best. Some dogs will work for praise and a quick pat, but many will not. For most dogs this is simply not rewarding enough compared to what they wanted to be doing. Other dogs find food or toys more rewarding. If you use what works best for your dog, you will be fine. Use something the dog is not motivated by and you are wasting your time.

I agree with the analogy that few of us would work for nothing! Despite the old romatic ideals, dogs do not necessarily have an inbuilt desire to please thier owners. Why should they? They want to do things that make them happy. In training, you reward good behaviour with something that makes the dog happy. Whether that is praise, treats or play is irrelevant.
 

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I always take treats with me when we go out walking , and Hobo gets a treat every now and then .:)
I use treats when training but not all the time so he works for me and some of the time he gets a treat ,:) but i find it keeps him focused.
Today we have done our KC Good Citizen awards , and as we were doing the gold no treats or toys were allowed , hence the reason i dont always use treats . And we passed and got the Gold .:)
I do not have a problem with using a kind way of getting your dog to work for you and having a happy dog. :D
 
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