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  1. I do use treats occasionally as part of training, but I am gradually coming to the conclusion that their use is not only unnecessary, in most cases, but can actually be detrimental. This is probably not not news to the stock working community, where the high value reward is more work. However, I am thinking about sport and general obedience training, where training treats are part of the culture. I think my views started to change when I was fostering Glyn and Beau; one severely overweight, the other just plain obese. I needed to do some basic training with them, but I needed to keep their food intake down. I happily discovered that I the treat pouch was barely needed. But treats are still OK if there's not a weight problem? At least they do no harm, I thought. Maybe. Maybe not. Since Glyn and Beau left (they both got adopted on the same day, but to different homes), I have tapered off training treats to the point where I no longer have them in the house as routine (I do indulge my dogs in "after-dinner" treats, so they do get some goodies). Initially, I imagined that treatless training was going to be less effective or slower. A succession of foster dogs have shown me that I was wrong; by abandoning the treat pouch, the dogs are more focused on my body language and learn faster and better as a result. I am very much a pragmatist, and avoid the black and white stricture of dogma. Yesterday, I picked up a couple of sample packets of treats at an adoption event and used them up while we practiced down stays during a brief period when the dog park was empty apart from us. Just a bonus for the dogs. In fact that little episode, plus the thread on "High value treat recipes" started me thinking. Are we gaining anything using training treats? Are they necessary at all? Can dependence on them be down right detrimental? [ Disclaimer: my foster dogs all came from a Border Collie rescue and I have precious little experience with other breeds. ]
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