CRazy Dog Articles & Training Tips

A Training Reward is NOT The Same As a Dog Treat

As diverse as the training category is in terms of the methods that trainers use, there is one principle that trainers agree on: to modify a dog's behavior, you must first get him to focus his attention on you and what you're trying to teach him.

“ To modify a dog's behavior, you must first get him to focus his attention on you ”
There is basically universal agreement among trainers that the surest way to do this is with tasty reward. Positive reinforcement training is the method, with many variations, that most trainers use today.

The essential qualities of a training reward:

  • It must be very palatable and aromatic to entice the dog, get his attention and FOCUSES him on the trainer. This generally requires a high meat/fish/poultry content.

  • It must MOTIVATE the dog so he will perform the task to get another one.

  • It must REWARD the dog so he receives satisfaction for a job well done.

  • It will SHORTEN the LEARNING CURVE, making training more successful faster.

  • The package should contain a LOT OF TREATS, training requires repetition.

  • A zipper pouch bag that can be resealed after use helps maintain freshness and is convenient.

  • It must be low calorie for repetitive use so there’s no weight gain worry.

  • It must be small and hold its shape well. It can’t crumble. The trainer needs to be able to carry it in his or her pocket or treat pouch and grab it quickly and easily. The dog should be able to eat it without creating a mess.

  • The combination of all of the above shorten the learning curve and make training more successful!

The product that meets these criteria makes it a training reward, rather than a “treat.”

Many trainers and show dog handlers use real chunks of meat, liver, hot dog or cheese to get the dog’s attention.. Dogs love them - but they don’t meet the criteria of low calorie for repetitive training. They also require special care, such as refrigeration, and personal packaging.

What’s A “Treat.”?

A treat should be very tasty, but may also be high in calories, long-lasting, require chewing or even crumble to pieces. Any of those qualities are fine for treats but make a treat unsuitable to be used as a training reward.

Our surveys and focus groups with pet owners report that most people consider giving a “treat” to their dog on par with giving candy or ice cream to their children. It’s a special sweet or a snack that children crave, that demonstrates their love for their child. People treat their pets the same.

They also use treats, like chews, bones or rawhide, to keep the dog busy, with the added benefit of cleaning the teeth. That’s definitely not what you want to use to focus your dog on obedience training!

It should be noted that a segment of the specialty pet consumers are focusing more on nutrition and healthy or even organic ingredients used in “treats” – but again, stores create a section for this type of super-premium treat.

Price should not be the chief consideration for customers shopping for training rewards. Their number one concern should be to find the product that entices & rewards their pet and shortens the learning curve for both the trainer and the pet.

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