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So Iv'e started my traqining with wini, were actually a couple months into it now, but on and off because of her sickness and all this trouble. She knows how to sit, stay, lay, come and i'm working on posing for shows. But should i use treats? I've been using them one day then another I dont use them. I dont want her to just work for the treats. So I dont know if I should or not. What do you guys think? Thanks.
 

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I think you need some marker and some reward in order to communicate what it is you want the dog to do. I use treats to train and Kenya has a few titles. Treats were not used to earn any of them. It's like potty training a kid - often parents use some sort of star chart and rewards. Obviously as adults we don't still need to earn prizes to use the toilet. Once the dog understands what is being asked, you can wean off the treats. You can use other things for a reward as well (praise, games, toys...).
 

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I use treats for teaching, then I move to toys, praise, and still some treats to maintain and build. I just can't use toys to teach the beginning of a behavior as Renji's brain all but disappears, replaced by a giant neon sign that screams "GET THE TOY NOWWWWW!"

Remember, you wouldn't work for no paycheck and neither would your dog. Use whatever motivates the dog. Eventually you can wean to varied enforcement which is like playing the slot machine. The dog will never know when it will get a goodie for minding your requests so he'll be more inclined to mind to get that one "jackpot" out of a hundred "lemons."
 

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It depends on the dog IMO. I love it when I can use something other than treats...but if the pup is very food motivated, I'll use them.

Reich, never treated to train her. Making me happy and getting praised was enough for her...but I'd use her ball as a reward as well. Sieg is mega food motivated pup, so we do treat.
 

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I love a food motivated dog because I know that I can fully control something that he/she wants. It makes training quick and easy.

Over the years I've found that the key to being a good trainer is to be flexible and to work with what the dog likes. The concept of positive reinforcement is based on knowing what motivates your dog and using that appropriately. Tonight I was working Tazer and we did some treat training and some with the frisbee as the reward. It doesn't matter what you use as long as you use it correctly. You don't want the reward to become part of the cue (meaning that if you teach your dog to sit on command as you hold up a treat, holding up the treat actually becomes part of the command to the dog and when the treat disappears, so does the dog's understanding of the command). Luring a few times to get a behavior started is fine, but the rewards should really be hidden as much as possible throughout training.

I've seen dogs trained with toys who stop working once the toy vanishes and it's the same concept as training with visible treats. Reward appropriately and frequently so as to keep the dog focused and intent, but make him think that there are ALWAYS treats and toys because you hide them from his view and he doesn't know when they're there or not. Sometimes I go into a training area and set up treats and toys on different shelves and places throughout the room, and then I can run my dog to wherever the rewards are during training. It works really well.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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I think I'd be crazy NOT to use any tools in my 'training box' that I know work to get my dogs attention and have them want to be with and learn from me me me.....

And the fact of the matter is, treats work! They really do.

I don't want my dogs to 'have' to listen. I want them to WANT to listen. And though both philosophies get the same behavior, I'd rather have a happy and excited dog who can't wait to obey but is even excited about listening for the next command!

So I use treats, toys, and praise. Cause they work.

And it's NOT because any of that is a bribe. It's to get a willing partner. And all of those rewards, used properly, also involve moving into random reinforcement so I don't always have to treat every time, or play tug every time.

Some great sites to show how treats, like so many other training aids can be ideal for us to use:

http://www.canismajor.com/dog/trttrn.html

Great video about it! http://www.expertvillage.com/video/2059_dog-obedience-lures-rewards-bribes.htm
 

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I used treats when Juli was a very young puppy for basic obedience, but from 6 months on I reduced the treat rewards and now no treats just correction and praise. I want her to not be dependent on food reward to follow a command. It was a little difficult to get her off treats, she knew the commands but expected treat rewards so that was her primary motivation. When I am out walking her I can't take treats with me to reward every command but expect her to follow commands.
 

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Originally Posted By: gmcenroeWhen I am out walking her I can't take treats with me to reward every command but expect her to follow commands.
I don't have any problem taking a baggie of treats with me when I'm walking the dogs, and that's one of the reasons why my dogs are more dependable off-leash than most of the dogs trained with other methods. Because they know that response equals reward, my dogs are cued in on me and waiting for my command. I do a lot of off-leash/off-collar work and always carry treats and/or toys (that's what pockets are for! *L*). If I have a particularly driven dog that needs something corrective, I have no problem adding that in but I still continue to provide a high level treat or toy when the command is followed.

Even my young monster (Tazer, 16 months old, German/Czech working lines, energy out the kazoo) is responding very well off-leash without wearing a corrective collar these days. We were out playing frisbee when some people showed up and she started right over to them, but spun back to me on a simple "Tazer, here!" command. And of course I reinforced that! Turning away from being able to meet and greet new people is a tough thing for her to do and she deserved a good paycheck for it.

I can fill my pockets with treats and head outside with all dogs sans leashes - two shepherds, two chows - and they follow me around in circles and I send them through tunnels and over little jumps and then I throw treats that they get to chase down and eat - and then they run right back to me for the next "Game". To be able to have all four dogs out loose with no leash, no e-collar control, etc. is really neat and very effective when you've done the kind of training I've done.

I am really sold on using whatever it is that your dog likes to provide motivation for training. Dogs can be trained to avoid things they don't like (which is what shock collar training does) but there is a definite difference in the level of trust and relationship you end up with. I've seen both and know the difference, and I will always keep my e-collar training to a minimum since there are other ways - kinder ways - that produce better results for most of the training scenarios.

Okay. that was a bit rambling but I took a sleeping pill a bit ago and my hands are fuzzy now .. *L*


Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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In my opinion, 6 months is too soon to wean you dog off treats. They are still such babies, you want to take a long long time to instill the positive associations of listening to you = good things happen and life is grand!!!!

And I do understand that we want our dog listening and coming to us because we expect them to, not because they think they will be gettting a treat, but if they don't come or listen, we aren't anywhere where we want them to be anyways, so what's the point of not using treats?

Carry treats, reward randomly. When you go somewhere and you don't have treats on you, you will still have a dog that comes and does as you ask, because they never know when the reward is coming. What is wrong with making "work" fun for your dog?
 

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Quote: Carry treats, reward randomly. When you go somewhere and you don't have treats on you, you will still have a dog that comes and does as you ask, because they never know when the reward is coming. What is wrong with making "work" fun for your dog?
That statement is key and what most of us mess up with when using treat training. Then we say using treats doesn't work.

Initially, you treat ALL THE TIME. Until they learn the behavior. Then you move to the next step.

And that's the random reinforcement (initially still alot, but not every time). Gradually, and over time, you wean away from the treats almost entirely for known behaviors. But can still jackpot and treat heavily for new ones.
 

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I use treats a lot. I have a 15 year old senior, a 2 year old service dog and a puppy. When the service dog is working, he never gets snacks. But when he's home, or training, or we're at the park, he likes his snacks as much as the next guy.

Random rewards are, of course, the key. My dogs love getting attention. I heap praise on them for a job well done like's no tomorrow. And my SD just loves to work. There's a gleam in his eye when he's working. And my pup loves to run her agility course. She barks in frustration if she has to wait in line too long. So yes, there is inherent reward in what they do as well.

But snacks? Well, doesn't everyone like being told they're doing a Reeeeeally good job? That's what treats do. I appreciate a good review at work, and the boss's praise and recognition. But ultimately, I want a pay check, and a bonus. I consider treats the paycheck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So whatever best for each individual dog?
I have noticed that with buddy(our other dog) i can tell her to sit, down, come ect. with a occasional treat. and she is so perfectly happy with just a pet and "Good Girl"
But with Wini she knows the commands really well. (she shocked me at how fast she learned them) and she is really fast. like i say sit and she sits or whatever it is. Immediatly. But she knows i have treats. but i took her out and worked with her today and i didnt have any treats. she was extremly lathargic and didnt want to listen or do anything. i told her sit and she just ignored me.(it was like she was some where else completly, it was very frusterating) she just stared at the ground. but right when I went in and grabbed the treat bag she was on her toes! like really obeident she started sitting and stuff and i hadn't even asked her to do anything. her eyes where watching me and was very focused and alert.
 

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Quote: So whatever best for each individual dog?
Uh, no...... I'm not sure anyone meant that at all.

What we did mean, is we can't go from treating 100% of the time to 0% of the time. To use the treat method properly, we have to add the RANDOM (or variable) REINFORCEMENT in the middle. Like everything else, if you skip an important learning step, thing tend to start falling apart.

Here's more info on what we are trying to say about how to use treats properly with the random reinforcement:

http://www.clickandtreat.com/ff07.htm

http://www.jerseydogtrainer.com/clicker.aspx

http://www.click-4-success.com/vrs.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3piCjGO8Fc&feature=related
 

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Discussion Starter #15
well yes, i understand random reinforcment. i just meant like a toy instead of a treat, or a treat instead of a toy, or petting, or a "Good Girl". and I totally understand that you can't just abruptly stop giving treats after you have been giving them as a reward.
 

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using the toy, and or treat, and or praise, changing it up IS part of the 'random' and definitely a good thing to throw into the training mix.

The more 'tools' and options the better in my book.
 
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