No Free Treats!
Harness the power of food rewards – without excess weight gain.
Food is a natural reinforcer. Every animal must eat to survive; thus, food is an integral part of every animal’s life. For scavengers (including dogs), expending energy in the search and consumption of food is natural. This is why food, used strategically as part of a good training plan, is a powerful motivator. Many people squander this precious commodity every time they feed their dogs from a bowl.
It’s all treats
A common misperception about using food as a reward for good behavior is that one must use a treat that’s commercially prepared and packaged as such. Those extra-yummy treats play a role in training, but what about all those pieces of kibble you deliver in a bowl every day? Instead of thinking “treats,” think “calories.”
If you took all the calories your dog consumes to maintain a healthy weight, placed them into an airtight container every morning and used them as training treats, can you imagine how well your dog would perform for you? This would largely resolve the myth of the dog that is “not food motivated,” “finicky” or “not interested in treats.” Often, this same dog carries a healthy weight – or in some cases, too much weight – and is free feeding throughout the day. This dog is often a low performer, ignoring people’s cues at home and underachieving in training class or the competition ring.
One simple change in these dogs’ lives turns an underachiever into an overachiever. Pick up that food bowl and throw it away. That’s right. No more food bowl on the floor. Instead, use all those calories in training. When you’re happy with your dog’s behavior at home, in public and in the competition ring, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done – and reintroduce the food bowl if you want.
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