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So how do you ween off/stop using treats for training?

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So thinking about training Tuesday has made me consider some of the mistakes I've made with training my father's Malamute, Nick.


I feel like with Nick, all I succeeded in doing was making him interested in food, if not a complete pest as he'll check your hands and pockets for treats and if you have nothing he has only a mild interest in pleasing you (I think in hopes you have hidden treats) and will only obey one or two commands before he decides there's no point if he's not getting anything. I don't know how to go from you do it because you get food to you do it because you enjoy pleasing me and I know what's best.


I don't want this to be the case with Tuesday. I also wouldn't mind trying to correct this issue with Nick as well. Any suggests, tips, videos, or books for avoiding this nonsense and/or correcting it.

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Variable reinforcement. Raising criteria slowly, but steadily. Using reinforcers other than food to communicate that the dog has done the job well once the dog has the basic idea of what you want and mixing it up as much as possible as early as possible.


ETA: If you can, you might want to get your hands on a copy of "When Pigs Fly" by Jane Killion. While she is not really a fan of Border Collies (booo!), the book is an excellent resource for working with less biddable dogs so it may prove extremely helpful with the Malamute.


I've even used some of her techniques with Border Collies, but it is definitely more of a go-to source for me when working with clients who have dogs that are more along the lines of your father's Malamute.


You can get it pretty reasonably on Amazon and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in getting more serious about training and is looking to move from food lures to fluency.

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