Dog Training Without Treats – 5 Methods

Dog Training Without Treats

The following are five alternatives to using treats as a reward for your dog.

When it comes to training, one of the most convenient and useful rewards for a dog is edible treats. However, there are other ways to reinforce positive behavior besides offering food. There may be situations in which the use of food is undesirable or impossible, and there are also times when something other than a hot dog would be the most effective reinforcer. The next time you want to reward your dog but don’t feel like reaching for the treat pouch, try one of these five great alternatives instead.

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5 Methods For Dog Training Without Treats:

1. Have some fun with your dog!

The benefits of using toys, games, & play in training are well known to anybody who has received training for an active sport such as agility or flyball. Sports fans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from toys, games, and play.

The act of playing with your dog has the potential to be not only an effective relationship-building tool but also a potent reward. The most common forms of play with dogs involve tugging and retrieving, but there are countless other games you can play with your dog if you (and he) are creative.

2. Speak kindly to your dog whenever you can.

It’s possible that verbal praise, “happy talk,” or even just a simple “Good dog!” is the most common form of reward there is. Some dogs have an innate desire to seek out praise as a reward, but even dogs that don’t appear to have this desire can develop it if you praise them frequently and combine it with other positive experiences.

For instance, if you teach your dog to “down” with a click followed by a treat or tug, you can say “Good dog!” as you deliver the treat or play tug. Your dog will quickly learn to associate the happy praise with the treat or the tug, and “Good dog!” will eventually become its own reward for the work it has done.

3. Use “rewards of life.”

These are activities that your dog enjoys doing in his day-to-day life, such as taking a walk, running in the playground, or splashing around in a sprinkler, and the Premack Principle can be used to capitalize on his enthusiasm for these activities.

According to this theory, a “higher probability behavior” (one the dog is more likely to perform) can reinforce a “lower probability behavior” (one it’s much less likely to do, like waiting patiently at the door).

For instance, if you want to improve your dog’s ability to sit, you should instruct him to do so before allowing him to engage in any of the activities that he really enjoys, such as playing with his friends, swimming in the pond, or snuggling up next to you on the couch. This kind of reward is simple to incorporate into your day-to-day life, and it can be of particular assistance to dogs that are having trouble exercising their own self-control.

4. Stroke him in the places that he enjoys having it.

Touch is a reward that many dogs absolutely adore, but it is also one of the more challenging rewards to use. Before offering a pet, a rub, or a massage as a reward, you should first keep in mind the following two things: What kinds of physical contact does my dog enjoy the most? When is it that he particularly enjoys being touched?

For instance, your dog might enjoy it when you scratch his chest, but he might avoid it when you pat his head. When he is settled next to you, long, slow strokes may feel pretty good and be rewarding, but when he is waiting for a run in the backyard, they may irritate him.

Pay attention to how your dog reacts when you touch him; if he tries to get away from you or ignores you, then it is likely not something that is rewarding for him. If he interacts with you, comes closer to you, or starts asking for more, then it’s most likely rewarding.

5. Create space.

By increasing distance or removing social pressure, you can also use space as a reward. When utilized appropriately, space can be an extremely potent form of reinforcement.

For instance, a dog can be rewarded for proper behavior (like looking away) in the face of an anxiety-causing trigger (like a scary person) when you increase spacing by trying to move the dog away from the trigger.

You can use space in smaller or more subtle ways in your day-to-day interactions with your dog by removing the social pressure that might otherwise be present.

If, for example, you are training your dog not to go into the kitchen by using gentle body blocks, you can reward your dog’s acknowledgment of the kitchen door boundary by merely backing up a little bit, or by trying to remove the social pressure of the body block. This will show your dog that you value its acceptance of the boundary.

When you don’t want to use food or treats as a reward for your dog, there are many other things you can do instead. These are just a few examples. When considering what to give your dog as a reward, keep in mind that you can choose anything he or she considers to be of value.

  • Fix Any Problem Behavior in Your Dog in Minutes Using the World’s Most Powerful Dog Training Method Ever Developed…read more at Anthony Louis Dog Trainer Reviews

Dog Training Without Treats by Sam Derick

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