You‘ve probably not once heard that one of the best ways to teach a dog something is by using certain snacks or treats. Dogs are sentient and thinking creatures. Like humans, they will gladly do what is fun and for what they can receive a certain reward, and vice versa, avoid what does not bring joy.
Telling a dog to do something without getting paid is exactly the same as for boss to ask his employees to work without pay. Of course, you can always demand from the dog what you want, but it will negatively affect your relationship with the dog.
You probably noticed how your Australian Shepherd‘s behavior changes when you hold a snack in your hand? Snacks smell tempting for our dogs and are simply temptingly delicious. But, not all snacks are equally suitable for every use. Some are more for long-lasting chewing activity, others are suitable as motivating training treats. In this article you can find some questions and answers related to the use of treats during dog training and how to use them correctly.
Are Treats Necessary for Dog Training?
Dog treats are really important part of dog training. Lets be honest, we all want to get something for our work. Here is what you should have to look for:
- Your Australian Shepherd‘s favorite treats
Use treats that your Aussie likes the most. Good example could be bananas, as some dogs like them, while others don‘t like them at all. If you plan to train your dog during hot summer day, here is our article about perfect treat during hot days – ice cream for a dog.
- The right treats for your Australian Shepherd training lesson
Before any exercise or training, think what food would be the most suitable for such situation. If it is an obedience training, you should give your Aussie smaller treats as a reward. This is not practical with large pieces of food.
Also, in some cases food can help as a management method, for example if you are trying to put on a harness or muzzle. With the food that the dog can lick off, the dog can be lured into the right position.
- Variety in the rewards
Each dog will sooner or later get bored with the same food, so it is a good idea to change the rewards from time to time. So, to answer what kind of treats are better for a dog training, the right answer is to keep the variety.
- Always check the food ingredients
It is important to check the ingredients. Since some food has more sweetness and sugar, it should not be overfed. The portion of treats should not make up more than 10% of the daily energy requirement.
Why does my dog only listen when i have a bite in my hand?
If you always start a lesson by showing that you have something delicious in your hand, the dog will always be waiting for that sight and smell. This is a very common question people ask at a training school. Remember the following steps to help you avoid this problem:
- Use hand gestures
- Mark the desired behavior with a clicker or the words „good dog“, or something similar.
- Only then give the dog a treat. The dog must understand that even if the does not see or smell the delicacy, he will definitely receive it after performing the desired action.
Is It Possible to Teach a Dog Commands Without Treats?
If you teach your dog to sit down and repeat this every day, the dog automatically gets used to it and then does that without thinking. After a while, your Aussie will do this even if you don‘t have a snack in your hand.
There could be emotional prizes as well:
- Instead of a treat, say „good dog“ emotionally.
- You can also give a „sit“ command before taking the dog for a walk. If the dog has done what you want before leaving the door, his reward is walk in the fresh air.
- The prize can also be a game with a dog‘s favorite toy or something.
When To Start Trainings With Treats?
Basically, a treat can be given right from the start. However, it is important not to start with juicy pig ears or bones. The simple reason for this is that these foods are too fatty and can quickly lead to severe diarrhea and abdominal pain. It is important to start with treats that are easily digestible. This can be gradually increased, because there are also special delicacies when your dog is older. For example, some delicacies are helpful for dental health, others for jaw muscles and so on.
Can You Make Treats for Your Australian Shepherd Yourself?
Of course, there is not only the option of buying the treats in the store or ordering treats online, but making snacks yourself. if you prepare your dog snacks yourself, you can always be sure that only high-quality ingredients have been used with reward to the ingredients.
In addition, by preparing treats yourself, they can be ideally adapted to the dog‘s preferences and needs, which also applies to the size of the individual snacks.
If i train a dog every day for a long time, will he not be overwhelmed by the delicacies?
You should deduct the amount of food you feed your dog during training from his feeding. Also try to use the smallest possible pieces of delicacy.
If my dog doesn‘t work for food, what else could help?
In a school of positive training, food is not the basis of training. The reward is what the dog likes the most, maybe it‘s a ball, a pad, or something else that makes your pet go crazy. But food is one of the easiest ways to encourage a dog because there are no dogs that don‘t like food.
When should you stop using food for training?
If a dog is anywhere and anytime doing the command you are asking for, then you no longer need to use food to train that team. However, from time to time you should still give him a treat or any other reward. Of course, be sure to use the commands to make the dog perform them perfectly even without a treat in hand. Often dog owners teach a dog some command, but then stop using that command for several months.
My dog performs commands at home perfectly, but when he go out into the yard – he is not doing anything. Why does that happen?
The home environment is one of the simplest training environments because everything is normal and familiar to the dog. In the yard, the dog can see a variety of stimuli and strange, new sounds. Do not put your hands down and get your dog used to working in different environments, various delicacies that have not yet been tried can help.
We all want to get something for the work we do, and our pets are no exception. In dog training, reward with treats is inevitable. Therefore, it is also important here to use quality products and give the animal only what is best. With the right reward and consistent leadership from you, nothing will stop your Australian Shepherd from being well educated and spending many great years together.