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Do you use treats or other food rewards with your puppies? If not, please tell us why

  • Yes

    Votes: 113 77.4%
  • No

    Votes: 15 10.3%
  • Sometimes

    Votes: 18 12.3%
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Discussion Starter #1
Do you use treats or other food as a reward for your young pups? If not, why not? Post a comment please.
 

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Not just yes but (as they say in Tupelo, MS...) Hay-ell yes!
 

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YES! My Labs are food oriented. I mark the behavior with a verbal 'good!' followed by a treat. When behavior or command is understand I wean from treats but always keep the verbal 'good!.'
 

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I voted sometimes, even though I do use them on most pups under 3 months. But, it depends on the pup. I've had 2 that weren't very food motivated. With the current pup, who was/is a mouthy singleton that was bottle fed, I actually used them to get her to come back from retrieves--first time I'd ever done that, but she's so greedy/food obsessed that I thought it was worth a try and it did work. Because she's mouthy, she never dropped the bumper to come for her treat. She's now 4 mos., and hasn't needed them for awhile because she 'gets it' that if she brings it back, she'll get more retrieves. I am formalizing her obedience right now and no longer use them. I will bribe baby puppies shamelessly if they're food motivated, but by 3 months I'll randomize the food rewards and wean them off them.
 

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Treats? Yes, but only for baby puppies. As we get into field I want them looking Out not up at me like an obedience dog looking for treat. Reward transitions from treat to retrieve. Dogs still receive cookies and treats but not related to training.
 

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Yes, I teach all the OB commands(sit/here/heel/kennel), delivering to hand, 3-handed casting to treats on a paper plate, hold, then initial stages of fetch. I do all with treats and marking. Works for me, YMMV. Like others, I do stop or limit after formal training(Force fetch) begins.
 

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For me the reward is lots of praise rather than treats...but I may just be acting childish being my parents never rewarded me with treats as a kid
 

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Treats? Yes, but only for baby puppies. As we get into field I want them looking Out not up at me like an obedience dog looking for treat. Reward transitions from treat to retrieve. Dogs still receive cookies and treats but not related to training.
I still use treats with my three year old dog in obedience training who stares at me like I hung the moon even if I just use Cheerios. He will do anything for food! On the line, I bet I could dangle a roasted chicken and he'd still be scanning for the bird. In fact, I have tried to reward him for not pulling me to the line and at best he will annoyingly take the treat from my hands (like I am making him do it) while looking elsewhere, so I don't even bother. I have never met anyone who does obedience and uses food have any issues in the field.
 

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Yes, I absolutely train with food and my dog is nearly three. I use it to teach and to reinforce and create a quick, happy, snappy response to all of my cues. I want my dog to think, "OMG I love to heel!" or "OMG I love a snappy, straight, close front!" or "OMG I love scent articles!" These things are not inherently fun for the dog and food allows these precise, stressful and otherwise mundane tasks to be exciting and fun. I also feed for effort when the dog is having a hard time learning something new as it helps to keep him in the game (particular to my dog who likes to be right and always gives 110%). I also use food when I'm having a hard time and he is responding to my (poor) handling. I like to reward my dog for putting up with me sometimes. I trained my dog to Utility this way as well as all of his field work and agility. He's close to three years old and is a very happy worker and does well. I also use praise, petting, games and fun tricks (spin, touch, bounce, etc.) as rewards and interchange them for when I put him in the ring where food is not allowed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
good responses - I think the people who do more versatile training (meaning OB, Agiliity, etc) are going to use treats more/longer
 

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Yes, I teach all the OB commands(sit/here/heel/kennel), delivering to hand, 3-handed casting to treats on a paper plate, hold, then initial stages of fetch. I do all with treats and marking. Works for me, YMMV. Like others, I do stop or limit after formal training(Force fetch) begins.
I used pieces of kibble to introduce new concepts like the SIT, DOWN, HERE, KENNEL and I can send him to his KENNEL or PLACE which I'm working into the casting concept like you see in Mertens' Sound Beginnings. But how do you use them to teach delivering to hand? I figured that using a treat for delivery would cause him to drop the bumper before he got to me in anticipation of getting a treat. My mother-in-law used to give her dog a treat so she would give up a shoe or a sock or whatever. Dog figured that one out quickly and went and picked up something she wasn't supposed to have so she would get a treat. I don't want to go down that road, but I'd love to hear how you go about teaching delivery with a treat.
 

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I used pieces of kibble to introduce new concepts like the SIT, DOWN, HERE, KENNEL and I can send him to his KENNEL or PLACE which I'm working into the casting concept like you see in Mertens' Sound Beginnings. But how do you use them to teach delivering to hand? I figured that using a treat for delivery would cause him to drop the bumper before he got to me in anticipation of getting a treat. My mother-in-law used to give her dog a treat so she would give up a shoe or a sock or whatever. Dog figured that one out quickly and went and picked up something she wasn't supposed to have so she would get a treat. I don't want to go down that road, but I'd love to hear how you go about teaching delivery with a treat.
If they drop it early, they don't get a treat, and I say "No" when they drop. I always mark verbally when I take the bumper with "Give" and then give the treat. They learn to associate giving me the bumper in my hand gets the treat. I've got a 10 week old pup right now that's pretty reliable delivering to hand. He's retrieved paint rollers, canvas puppy bumpers, and 2 inch plastic bumpers on land and water. Like I said, it works for me, but may not for others. More than 1 way to skin a cat(or train a dog) :)
 

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I use them with little puppies, and I use them for obedience training (as in, training for competition obedience.) For one thing, it's hard to take a young dog to obedience class where all the other dogs are getting treats and expect them to work without them, LOL. My older dogs who have been through force fetch and are working well in the field work better for praise or a ball then for food. I don't use them for field work at all.
 

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If they drop it early, they don't get a treat, and I say "No" when they drop. I always mark verbally when I take the bumper with "Give" and then give the treat. They learn to associate giving me the bumper in my hand gets the treat. I've got a 10 week old pup right now that's pretty reliable delivering to hand. He's retrieved paint rollers, canvas puppy bumpers, and 2 inch plastic bumpers on land and water. Like I said, it works for me, but may not for others. More than 1 way to skin a cat(or train a dog) :)
Thanks Jeff. Wished I would have tried this months ago. How old is too old for treat training for delivery to hand. I have not tried that but it makes sense, especially with this wolf that I call Kodi.:) He is almost 11 months.

But to Darrins question I used treats for the first few months, absolutely. Especially for OB.
 

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He's motivated by food, but truth be told, he sees one of his bumpers come out and he's more motivated by that. When he does get a treat, he seems to pick it up but not chew on it as he's focused on the bumper.

I'll have to give it a try. Thanks!
 

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As some will know I taught basic obedience skills, body positioning and simple casting via clicker.

So if you extrapolate clicker to treats, then yes, I use them a lot, possibly more than most in RTF.

Eug
 

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I've used treats for a young pup to teach basic commands, Sit/Here/Down but move away from them probably somewhere between 4-6 months old.
 

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Ill take my previous quote back. I did use peaces of dog food to teach sit as a pup and wife used them to teach spot. After that none
 
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