Understanding Food Rewards for Dog Training

Understanding Food as a Reward in Dog Training


Food is extremely useful when training a dog, but it’s important to place a high value on it.

Food is unmatched for classical dog training and is useful as a reward… until it becomes a bribe or an expectation.

We know its hard. Our dogs little faces are so cute, they are so sweet, and they are all little Angels from Heaven. How can we not just give in! This is exactly, when we need to remember why we are training them in the first place. For most, we want to at least train them for safety reasons. For example, we assessed an urgent need for them to come back to us and they need to come immediately. So one way to get past that cute face is to remember that.

If we are not careful, food can become a bribe. When that happens, we have changed the rewards’ ability to influence your dog’s behavior for the better. Over time, there will be little to no value on the reward. Your training will gradually deteriorate and your dog will begin to ignore you and your “reward”. That urgent threat that you assessed and told them to come – they may not come at all.

Since food is irreplaceable for classical conditioning, it is critical to not abuse it, nor allow its “power” to be lost.

Food allows us to bond with our dog. For them, it forms positive associations with all kinds of things: other people, other dogs, other animals, noises, objects, different environments and more. Food rewards are a lifelong conditioning item that we can use daily. 

We could go on and on about what to do next. But the goal was simply to get you to understand this part. If you need professional assistance to train your dog properly, please do so immediately. Again, at a minimum, it is for their safety.

For dog training treats, we recommend real meat air dried food. They use high quality meats and a gentle drying process to deliver premium products at an affordable price. It is a bit expensive, but remember, you are supposed to be rewarding sparingly. Click here to see their products on Amazon.

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