We like to give our dogs treats in the same way that we enjoy having “snacks.” However, feeding a dog treats for no reason decreases their value as a training reward. To maximize their training potential, avoid using treats for anything other than training. If you want to give them out more often (not too often—don’t let them become overweight!), use them to reinforce good behaviors at random times during the day outside training—good practice for every dog owner! For instance, is your hyper dog sitting or lying calmly on the couch instead of jumping off the walls? They deserve a treat!
This is especially important this month. Avoid feeding your dogs table scraps on Thanksgiving! Not only are you wasting a reinforcement opportunity with a SUPER high-value reward (what we call a “jackpot” in the training world), but you’re also reinforcing an undesirable behavior—begging. If you don’t want your dog to be a beggar the rest of the year, don’t give him your turkey leg on thanksgiving after you’re done!
(… Also, turkey legs are not good for dogs to chew on.)
If you are looking for behavior and training help, look no further! The Fred SPCA Behavior Department has just opened up more group classes for the 2021/2022 season! Not sure where to start? Sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with our CCTBS certified instructor!