There are so many misconceptions about dog training that we’ll break for you today. First, most dog owners think that training can only be done by professionals. WRONG! As their parent/owner, you should also be their teacher above all. Obedience training should be done at home while they’re still puppies–that’s the key to having a well-behaved and good-mannered dog. Second, dog training can only be done with treats. WRONG AGAIN! At first, it should start with treats as a part of positive reinforcement. But, as time goes by, treats should be diminished so that they’ll learn that they should behave because it is the right thing to do, and not because of the rewards that they’ll get from it if they do so.
A lot of owners use food as a lure method. These foods are commonly known as treats. Most of the time, treats are the motivating factors behind your dog’s decision to follow your cues and commands. Never underestimate the power of simple dog treats. However, there should come a time wherein treats shouldn’t be used as incentives because you just don’t need to have treats with you always.
How to Train Your Dog Without Treats
We need to remember that training without treats is possible. However, you have to go to a short “treats” phase then reduce it after multiple effective training sessions.
1. Switch to “life rewards”
Not all rewards have to be treats. Rewards can be in other forms such as praises, a bonding moment such as walking, giving them attention, belly rubs, being extra playful with them, toys, etc. Some may consider these as “treats” but the main goal here is to train them without food, not exactly rewards. This can really motivate your dog to maintain its good behavior.
2. Build up trust and connection between the two of you:
You need to have a good relationship with your dog at first. A strong bond full of trust and a connection between the two of you will show the dog that they’re in a safe, trusting environment. A good environment is another motivating factor that will enable your dog to follow your commands.
3. Play with your dog:
Playing with your fido gives you the opportunity to strengthen your relationship, as well as teach commands throughout the gameplay process. Engage in activities like tug-of-war, hide and seek, tagging, etc. and as you play the game, teach them to follow your vocal cues/commands and repeatedly do it until they learn the desired behavior.
4. Establish an alpha status:
An alpha status is showing that your dog is not the boss around your house. Show them that you’re in charge. Of course, do not do this out of fear as they may backlash you with negative behavior. Do this with a gentle, loving attitude. Make sure to be consistent, especially when giving commands. Having an alpha status will diminish the chances of your dog ruining objects in the house, peeing everywhere, barking excessively, and so forth.
Remember that you always have to start with treats and then slowly wear it off. Moreover, patience is key. Treat-less training is just as hard as any other type of training, so you need to persevere. Consistency is the key in order to have a successful, effective training. Even though you’re the “boss” or in-charge, never forget to show them affection because this will strengthen your relationship–the foundation of every good and well-mannered furry companion.