The video link below is of Billy (Cosmo x Fen Wizard daughter) learning sit means sit. Billy is 3.5 months old. This is Billy's first lesson at sit means sit so he is less than perfect but I think he did well for his first lesson. He does sit and wait for his dinner until given the OK.
My focus here is treat training. I am not a big fan of treat training but I have seen pups with excellent response to treat training so I thought I would try and implement treats a little more. A recent video of Wayne and Rowdy as a puppy learning heel and sit with treats got me to thinking. I know this method came from Jackie Merten's video and also have seen Pat Nolan doing it. Both are trainers with great success.
With that being said this is purely my opinion and observations. Although I do use treats at times I have come to the conclusion that I still don't care for treat training. When I do use treats I teach a command and then treat to reward the proper response. In the above mentioned videos the treat is used to LURE the pup into the desired response. I cant argue with success but this just doesn't sit right with me. Just seems to me that the focus is on the treat rather than the lesson.
Another recent thread with the girl at an obedience trial with a young golden also had me thinking about this. That thread seems to have disappeared, cant find it. Anyway that pup is constantly looking up at the handler and her hands. To me this is not desirable but I do understand where and why it can be desirable.
Now getting back to Billy's video. In one short 5 minute lesson you can see his concentration on my hands. Good or bad? Personally I don't like it. You can see him as I approach watching my hand and sometimes jumping for it. You could argue that this is part of teaching patience and waiting for the treat but I don't like it. In fact jumping for the hands is something I try to discourage so why encourage it with treats. When I have clients over and they come into the yard with my dogs loose the dogs will naturally go over to check them out and the peoples response is usually to raise their hands out of reach of the dog, kids are especially bad at this. Dogs natural response is to jump at the hands.
Watch Billy at the end of the video when I try to throw him a fun bumper he is so focused on my hands that he doesn't even watch the bumper, twice and this is only with one lesson. So this was my short lived attempt at using treats to train. To me the cons out weigh the pros. Maybe I don't use the treats properly. As with every method you need to know how to use it and how to recognize proper or negative responses to get what you want. Treat training is just not for me.