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Treats for training?

Treats for training  

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  1. 1. What type of treats do you use to train

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I am curious if or when you stop using treats to train your dogs.

I stop using treats for training around 6 to 8 months. I stop using treats when it becomes more about the treat than the training.(to the dog)

My dog still gets treats(at home) but they are just treats, she doesn't have to do anything for them.

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I use treats when training a new behavior, at this point with an almost 13 yr old well behaved dog it's just about always trick training. When the behavior is solid I fade to an enthusiastic 'Good Boy!' AND my guy gets a pill shoved down his throat 3x/daily. This medication has to stay in capsule form, can't open the cap and sprinkle it over a meal. He gets a treat for putting up with it.

Ruth & Gibbs

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I never used treats with german sheperds as they are people pleasers....our border collie picks up on things thru his stubborness with treats. Usually one time with a treat and he has it. After he has it down just a chest scratch.....he loves his thick chest scratched. I always felt a dog should perform because he wants to please you. I always use the good boy with his chest scratch.


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I am a clicker trainer and I always train with treats.  Once the behavior is learned and proofed and solid, my treating becomes only occasional, but I always without fail praise the dog. 

When it comes to recall while on off-leash walks, I treat every time the dog comes back to me because I want always to reinforce this thoroughly.

I do Musical Canine Freestyle, and that training is a bit different. In general I treat every time the dog does the behavior I ask for, even once it has been learned, for the first couple of weeks or so. Once I start putting moves together for a routine I treat less often, maybe every 3 or 4 moves instead if after each one, and there are always treats in my pocket. If I am going to do a performance, I ask for a few behaviors before going into the ring or on stage, and treat very heavily for that, letting the dog believe that I have a lot more treats in my pocket. Of course, no treats while performing but after the performance I treat the dog again.

With a new dog or puppy, treats are always in my pocket all day and they are paid out for every little thing the dog gets right.

I use whatever is right for the dog. Usually cheese is a high-value treat, or pieces of cooked chicken breast. Medium reward is soft training treats I buy, and lower reward for everyday things is Charlee Bears.

So, bottom line is I never stop using treats with my dogs. I wouldn't have to give as many as I do, but it keeps things fun for them and makes their daily life a bit more exciting and I like to do that for my dogs.


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 I watched a musical canine freestyle, obedience championship, Agility video.... That's a whole other level of intensity. Bravo 

I can see why treats are encouraged

Those are all big asks, extreme focus..i love my dog but not that much!


 How long does it take for you to teach the dog the routines and then how long does it take to sync with the group. I'm thinking each dance would be a years training?

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Hi Nuance, Of course it always depends on the dog and how fast that dog learns, and on the training skill of the handler for putting together a Freestyle routine, as well as diligence in training daily. 

Any really fancy move that you see has been taught little bits at a time. For instance, if you want the dog to go open a door and go inside and lie down, you would start out by simply clicking or making your marker sound and rewarding every time the dog got near the door. Then, once the dog knew that getting close to the door got rewarded,  you would mark and reward every time the dog's face or nose got near the door knob. And so on. Very tiny steps to get to the whole behavior. Many rewards along the way.

For someone who is skilled at this, training this kind of complex behavior might take a few weeks of working on it every day.  Training sessions work best if they are not longer than 10 to 20 minutes, and you can't work on one thing the whole time. Once the dog knows how to learn behaviors, it goes faster. Training simple moves can take as little as a 3 to 5  minutes for a dog who knows how to learn, or much longer if the dog is a beginner. I have been doing it for a while, and it gets to the point that the dog knows that training is coming up when I get out the clicker and treats. Then, if I put something on the floor, the dog knows that I want him to do something with that thing, and all he has to do is figure out what I want. That's knowing how to learn.

Members of my group usually take a month to three with a dog who knows how to learn to put together a routine that is reliably good enough for performance in public. All our dogs are used to this, though, and we all know how to train. But even for a beginner, it would never take a year to train a simple routine unless you didn't work on it or went about it the wrong way. And if a team (meaning the dog and the handler) is doing a very complex routine like what you see on the internet, it means they have been working together at less complex routines for some time, probably years, to build up to the point that they can learn and do a long and complex routine  But training that particular routine wouldn't take a year. 

My group doesn't sync with each other in a group, and most Canine Freestylers don't. Competitions are generally for a 1 dog/ 1 person team, and sometimes for 2 dogs and a person.  I have done it, and synching a routine with 4 dogs and 4 people is exhausting and takes a long ( and exhausting) time, but mostly that is because of the people forgetting the routine, not the dogs!.

What takes the longest for me is finding the right tune, which can take weeks or even months, choreographing it, and memorizing the routine. Sometimes the dog already knows all the moves and all I have to do is make sure I have it memorized and cue my dog at the right moment so it goes with the music.  That can take as little as a month to get ready for performance. If I am training several new behaviors, it takes longer. 

If you love to train your dog and do dog stuff with other dog people, it is really fun.


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I still use training treats when training.  They are given randomly.  However, I'm old-school and only give my dogs treats when they do something I ask them to do.  Obviously, they get more treats when learning something than after it is learned.  But they still do get a treat when doing what is asked of them.

However, my DH gives them treats anytime he feels like it;  and for coming in the house; and for coming to the garage door; and for looking cute....you get the idea.  And then I have to yell because they are getting fat.  I resorted to mini treats, but then he just gave them 5 instead of one.  sigh.  You can teach an old dog new tricks;  not so with an old husband!  LOL :rolleyes:

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 Thanks for that information. I personally spend a lot of time with my dog and training life skills is a full time job(until my dog is two years old at least)Although i dont see us  Dancing .

I will recommend to other people that they check it out , At the very least they might become more inspired by all your groups hard work and training.

Beachdogz, LOL @mini treats and your DH just giving them more.

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Totally depends, I am also a clicker style trainer, as well as a committed agility competitor. I use treats to teach new tricks, I use treats all the time when doing conditioning exercises and in agility I use a treat and train machine when I need him to think. Treats are always part of my dogs lives.

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Pretty much what they all said above.  My individual take:  we do a LOT of off-leash hiking, generally where there aren't other dogs or people (SO lucky we are!).  My recall is #1 - pups learn it young, and I continue to reward that throughout their entire lives.  Especially if they're on the track of something (squirrel, deer), or totally entranced with something (perhaps another dog), even my 10 yr old gets lots and lots of treats and praise for coming back when called.  



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