Tuesday, 6 October 2009

using food as rewards in training

I've just read a very useful summary of the pros and cons of using food as the reward in training dogs. I followed a link that Honey the Great Dane sent me. (Well, her human, Hsin-Yi actually sent it to me, but I'm sure Honey was behind it all.)

It's one of the best summaries of the issue I've ever seen.

What I particularly liked was the point that the human has to follow up with the teaching throughout the dog's life. So, if you like jerking on a chain and releasing it, you'll be doing it right through the dog's life. (Definitely not my choice.)

Or, if you reward with food, you are committed to doing that indefinitely. Not all the time, but indefinitely.

And you have to remember that the more treats you give, the less food there will be at mealtimes, or you'll end up with an overfed dog.


Honey the Great Dane said...

Glad you liked it and found it useful !!

parlance said...

Loved it!

Johann The Dog said...

Hmmm...interesting. We do a lot of reinforcing for desired behaviors with many different kinds of rewards - treats, yes's, good boys, toys, a little one-on-one play/wrestle, clicker and whatever JoJo or Gracie finds rewarding.

Oddly enough, I found that JoJo loves it when I push his chest a little and growl a bit at him...comes in super useful at the start of an agility course :)

For us the key is to use all types of rewards for desired behaviors, then if we don't have one type of reward on hand, we can use another; and keep the waistline trim :)

parlance said...

Johann, I hadn't made the connection, but when we went walking in the park today (with no treats in my pocket, for the first time I can ever remember), Penny was rather slow to obey commands. We had a tennis ball with us, and the throwing of that was a good reward.
But until I read your comment, I hadn't really thought back on the fact that Penny was probably quite aware that I had no food. (Not that I give her treats on most walks, but they are always in my pocket.)