Are Treats the Best Way to Train Pets?
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Are Treats the Best Way to Train Pets?

Are Treats the Best Way to Train Pets?

We want to achieve specific behaviors from our pets. One of the fastest ways to accomplish this goal is to provide them with treats as a reward. When animals have food motivation, the choices they make get based on the idea of having something tasty.

If you’ve seen monkeys steal food from people violently or pets break into cabinets to grab treats, you know that this training doesn’t always have positive outcomes. Animals can be so reliant on food gives (like seagulls and bread) that their instincts get overridden by the desire for something else.

Are the treats being used as favorable reinforcement to teach what you want your pet to do? If so, offering them may be the right way to approach training.

Do you use treats to show a pet what not to do? This issue may not be the best option to use in your training toolbox.

What are the Benefits of Using Treats?

1. You’ll get a positive response when a treat gets offered as a reward. It is an enticement to participate in obedience training, especially if food is a powerful motivator.

2. It creates a positive connection between you and your pet. Rewarding a desirable behavior develops bonding moments that can turn into a deeper relationship.

3. Treats eliminate the need to use loud noises or physical force to encourage a pet to perform the desired behavior.

4. It helps the pet develop confidence in their abilities and social connections, allowing them to visit new people, places, or activities.

5. The use of treats can help animals learn new skills that they can use without direct human supervision.

6. Pets can learn how to behave when they see specific hand gestures or non-verbal movements. Training doesn’t need to be entirely verbal.

What Are the Problems with Using Treats?

1. Unless you make the treat at home, you don’t know what ingredients might be in the product. The label offers a clue, but it is not a guarantee that the item is free from contamination.

2. It can create dependence on the treat to perform the behavior. If you don’t have a reward ready, the response may not be what you expect.

3. Treats don’t encourage respect to develop between you and your pet. Some animals stay involved because they want the food. You are the provider – nothing more.

4. Food can cause animals (especially dogs) to lose focus during the training session. You may need to keep your obedience training to five minutes or less.

5. Pets that aren’t successful in performing the new behavior can grow frustrated by the lack of treats.

6. Animals may experience environmental distractions because the focus of the reward mechanism is on food. Anything perceived to be edible may draw them away from the training process.

Treats can be a practical way to train pets. People are successful with this approach every day. Is it the right method to use at home? Only you can answer that question!

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