Training your Emotional Support dog is an important way to teach him structure and prepare him for a long, happy life. While they might say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, there’s actually no such thing as a bad time to start training Fido.
However, when you’re starting a new training routine, you’ll want to introduce rewards and treats the right way. If you’re not careful, you could lead to more confusion and misunderstandings by failing to introduce rewards and treats properly. In this guide, we’ll share how to use rewards and treats in dog training the right way.
Food is used as a reinforcer when you’re working on dog training. A reinforcer is anything that causes the frequency of a behavior to increase. Most dogs prefer food to be this reinforcer!
Dogs are highly food driven. Not only are treats easy-to-use, but they’re especially powerful if you choose a high-value treat your dog doesn’t get all the time. Using a specialty cookie like Wüfers gives them an extra exciting incentive to work towards and makes them ultra-focused on your training session.
Understand Reinforcement vs. Bribery
One of the most common mistakes when introducing rewards and treats in dog training is accidentally bribing your dog. There’s a key difference between reinforcement and bribery. Reinforcement is like a payment for doing so well. It’s something they receive after they did the right behavior.
On the other hand, bribery is when you offer something for your dog after they refuse to perform a behavior. For example, they might not sit until you give them a treat. This is a bribe, not reinforcement, and it won’t help them create long-term mastery.
According to the APDT, you should use the same gestures and the same tone of voice when working with your dog both with and without treats. This simplifies the process for them, and it also makes it possible to start phasing out dog treats in the future.
Train Your Dog with Confidence
If you’re starting a new training routine with your dog, it’s normal to be a bit nervous. Most people don’t have professional training experience, so there’s sometimes a learning curve for both you and Fido. The key is having the right tools, and treats, on hand. In this case, having high-value dog treats goes a long way.
Not only will your dog be more engaged from the start, but you’ll also help them learn more quickly. Training isn’t something that happens overnight. You need to be consistent in your daily habits to help your dog catch on quickly. Whether you use safe human food or the best quality dog cookies, treats help your dog every step of the way. From there, it’s smooth sailing.