2001-Sat Jul 21 04:09:02 EDT 2018
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
One of the main reasons pet owners are hesitant to use rewards in training is out of a belief that if a dog is taught to do a behavior, like coming when called, in exchange for a treat, he will expect a treat every time he is called — and this will mean that the pet owner is required to carry treats all the time.
But using rewards to motivate your dog during training doesn’t mean treating him every single time. There are a variety of rewards that can be used to reinforce good behavior. And once your dog has learned the appropriate response to your cue, he won’t need to see a treat to do what’s being asked of him.
Making a few simple changes to the way you train can help create a reliable recall response without needing to carry treats with you at all times. To begin with, it’s helpful to first understand why your dog doesn’t respond unless he sees a treat.
He's not sure what you're asking. It's possible that your dog doesn’t fully understand the behavior he is being asked to do or that he doesn’t associate your verbal cue or visual signal with the behavior. In this case, he’s just responding to the treat, not to the command. The treat needs to be a reward for completing the behavior, not the reason the dog does the behavior in the first place.
He's distracted and doesn't really hear you. Your dog may also be too distracted by enticements, like interesting smells and the allure of off-leash freedom, to respond to your calls. If this is the case, he may require additional training to advance his ability to respond to your cues in high-distraction areas without an additional draw, like a treat.
To determine why he's not responding to the cue without the treat, try this test: Choose a low-distraction area of your house, like your living room or a hallway. Stand so that your dog can see that you're not holding a treat and call his name. If he responds to the cue and comes to you — even without a treat — he is probably just distracted in other situations. If he does not come at all, he most likely doesn't understand what you're asking him to do. Double-check by calling him with a visible treat. If he comes this time, you can be pretty sure he needs a refresher on coming when called.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.