Ok, so do you train with or without treats? I'm confused... Need opinions..

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#1
Well, I burrowed a video from the library on dog training, and the guy said, all you need is your voice for training. And the dog of course. And three tones of voice also.

Command
Correction
Praise

Thats it. So which do you guys think is better, treats for training, or praise? I'm confused. Because there are soo many different ways. Thank you for reading!
 

houndlove

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If you want to motivate your dog to work without the use of threatening him with pain if he doesn't, you need to find something your dog really loves. For most but not all dogs this is food treats. But some dogs have certain toys that they would die to get a chance to play with. Praise is a mild motivator for some dogs, but mainly because it's been conditioned in the dog that that tone of voice means something good is likely to head it's way some time soon. If you used a "paise" tone of voice and then smacked the dog a few times right after, you'd make your dog afraid of praise, not motivated by it.

People who poo-poo using motivators in dog training just don't understand the proper way to use them. They usually think we're bribing our dogs and that we have to keep treats on our person all the time for the rest of our lives in order for the dogs to do anything. This is not at all the case. Rewards are used when teaching a new behavior. Once the behavior is learned, you start to slowly fade out the treats until they're gone completely (well, gone nearly completely---if you stopped rewarding in any way for a behavior forever and ever, after a while you'd see the behavior go away because there's no longer any reason at all for the dog to perform it).

Dogs understand two things: "good for me", and "bad for me." Those are the two options you've got working for you when you train a dog. You can either train so that performing becomes "good for me" or you can train so that not performing becomes "bad for me". I prefer the former because in order to convince a dog that not performing is "bad for me" you have to be willing to punish in a way that makes an impression, and I am not willing to do that.
 

houndlove

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#4
Pat Miller's book "The Power of Positive Dog Training" is extremely popular and your library may have it (ours does--but I live in a large city with a huge public library system). I've seen it also sold at PetCo and PetSmart. It's very easy to understand, outlines what positive training is all about and why it works, and then takes you through a "course" of several weeks long that goes from basic obedience to fun tricks and more advanced work, step by step, with pictures. I highly recommend it.
 
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#5
I think it depends on the dog, if their food-orientated or respond better to your voice, or at least thats how all my puppies are trained.
Personally, I think praise should be backed up with a treat or toy, or maybe even a trip to the park ect, because when you praise they think they're going to get a reward, and ussually they respond to you more when you do this because before it had a really positive outcome.
 

Lizmo

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#6
I agree with Golden. Different dogs need different things. Some have a high food drive and are willing to obey with a voice praise and treat. Other dogs like hearing their owner's voice and obey with just that.

But with all things, I think there comes a time when treats need to be only given some of the time, but the dogs needs to obey all the time.
 
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#7
Alright, thank you! Would it be alright if there is a treat used twice in training? If they knew it really well, and then cut down to one treat after the session? With praise of course. On review things, such as Sit, Stay, Down. Things like that?
 

smkie

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#8
WE never used treats at the kennels. WE trained obedience, and field work. I do not like to use treats for i believe that it causes the focus to be on the food and not on you. YOu do not need to train with pain ever, praise has been more then enough for every dog i have ever worked with. THere is one exception..sit pretty.
 
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#9
*sarcastic bull sh** alert,LOL*

Of course don't forget, if your dog is a puppy then you shouldn't go anywhere near it for the first six months so that you don't inadvertantly train it. Purina said so.
 
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#10
LOL.
Spirit, do whatever works with your dog.It might take ages, but eventually they will just do as thier told without expecting untold treats.
 

Maxy24

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#11
With treats it is important to wean them off. You basically do this by, once the dog knows the command and performs every time, being more picky. So say you're teaching sit. The dog sits every time you say sit, you give a treat every time. Now what you would do is only give treats when the sit is as fast as you would like, stop giving treats for slow sits (still give verbal praise). If you desire for the sit to be in a certain position (facing you directly, not sideways or anything) start only giving treats for fast and correctly positioned sits, continue verbal praise for the others. So basically work your way down to the perfect sit in your mind. Then you can begin to completely wean them off of treats by only giving every once and a while throughout the session (make sure those times are never when the dog does sloppy sits) and eventually none at all. Make sure your verbal praise is still there.

As far as whether or not to use treats...I think they are great. I just think it is important that the dog see them as a reward and not a bribe (with some behaviors it is ok to use them as a bribe to begin but transition them to a reward as quickly as possible) and that they learn that the seeing the treat is not the only time they will get them, in fact they are more likely to get a treat when they don't see it (treats should be held out of the dog's sight when you give a command).

I also believe that treats are not always the most appropriate reward. For instance a dog that jumps up when he greets you really wants attention. The proper reward to train that dog not to jump will be attention, he will get it when he sits or behaves. For a dog that pulls on walks the proper reward would be walking, when he does not pull his walk continues, when he does it stops. For a puppy that nips the proper reward is usually play, he does not nip playing continues, he nips playing ends. Plus some dogs are more toy motivated than food motivated so using a small play session as a reward instead of a treat works great for them. SOME dogs even care enough about physical petting to be used as a good reward. I have not met any who will perform for simply verbal praise without being weaned from treats first or unless there is a painful/fear inducing/uncomfortable result if they do not obey. I'm not saying that certain dogs don't respond to it, I'm just saying I've never met any who do.
 

corgipower

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#12
i use treats, toys and verbal praise. my praise is very enthusiastic. a lot of people have a hard time praising a dog in a way that the dog understands that it is praise. my dogs are very willing to work for the praise alone. i use treats to fine tune position and as a quieter reinforcer when the praise might be overwhelming. i use toys when i need a super strong motivator, if i'm training difficult exercises, and i use a toy at the end of the session as a reward for the entire training routine. i did have a dog that didn't take treats in training and didn't want a toy, but he lit up with praise.
 

Xerxes

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#13
Thats it. So which do you guys think is better, treats for training, or praise? I'm confused. Because there are soo many different ways. Thank you for reading!
I train with and without treats. I use play, praise, food and everything else I can as a motivator.
 

elegy

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#14
i use whatever works for the dog i'm training- food, play, toys, pets, praise (though praise is a pretty low level reward).

i absolutely second the recommendation of picking up a copy of pat miller's book. pam dennison's idiots guide to positive dog training is another good one. they both lay out when and how to fade rewards, how to make rewards the most effective, the difference between a reward, a lure, and a bribe and when it's appropriate to use all of those things. good stuff, and all in user-friendly layout.
 

corgipower

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#15
(though praise is a pretty low level reward).
for my guys praise is higher level than food. and mine are total chow hounds. i have seen them spit out the food or completely ignore it when i praise. then again, when tyr was younger, and starting his protection work, i couldn't praise him while he was biting, because he would come off the sleeve and come over to me. so i guess it's something in the way i give praise.
 

houndlove

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#16
Use whatever motivates your dog, but you have to find something that really motivates the dog and gives him a good reason to work. What that thing (or several things) will be will differ for every dog, but every dog needs a reason to work. A lot of people operate under "my dog should work for this" assumptions. But what you think your dog should be happy working for and what your dog actually is happy working for may be two different things. Sometimes people get personally offended if their dog doesn't work for their praise. It isn't personal. It's not a shortcoming of you or your dog. It just doesn't ring the dog's bell and that's fine, find something that does ring his bell.
 
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Purdue#1

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#18
i don't use treats ever. I want my dogs doing the commands because i said so not because they are going to get a treat or think they are going to get a treat. Bribery/luring are the same thing in my book.
 
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#19
Depending on the dog I use differnt things as a reward.

Baron is a dog that simply loves to be praised, patted, and told he's pretty. If I'm just doing some practice obedience with him I'll just use praise as a reward because he loves it. However there are times I feel its easier to use treats to train him. Generally when I'm training him something new such as a bow. No amount of praise or coaxing is going to lure him into that silly posistion, a treat will do it very fast though. Also a treat every one in a while with praise is a cool reward (come on, if you stopped at stopsigns and got a cookie once in a while you would be more motivate too).

Gimli really doesn't care for praise and toys don't really seem to great if it means work. If you have food though he will do darn near anything.

Duke is not really praise motivated and he use to focus on his toy more than the command when he was younger. I found food mixed with praise was the best and now that he's settled down a little I can replace the food with a toy if I want.
 

Zoom

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#20
I use treats for some things, praise for others and "life rewards" for still others. Those are the things like say, chasing a squirrel...the dog REALLY REALLY REALLY wants to go chase that squirrel, there is nothing more on his mind right now than that squirrel. If they perform the behavior I ask for (and provided it's an appropriate time and space for them to do so) then they get to go chase that squirrel. Or like today, we were out at the park and Virgo wanted to REALLY REALLY REALLY go play in the creek and found a hole in the fence. She came back immediately when called because she's learned that quicker obedience at the park means she get to go play in the water.

So basically, I vary and switch it up. I taught my Aussie what "front" meant in about 10 minutes using some really good treats, to the point that he would "front" so fast he would do a sliding stop into the correct position. After that, I pretty much just quit using treats altogether, because for him, praise is such a huge motivator after he knows he knows the behavior that I don't have to keep them on me. My lab responds well to praise, but if we're learning a new behavior (she has a huge "why should I?" streak) then treats make things go a lot faster, then she as well will work well for praise or a toy. I very rarely carry treats on me at all. It's not necessary at this point.
 
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