Puppy Training Without Food Treats:

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Terrier MEANS I- love dirt!
Barked: Wed May 3, '06 7:05pm PST 
I sincerely doubt that "love" can be used to motivate a dog into behaviors desired by his/her mom or dad.

That sounds like wishful thinking.

I'll stick with what works.

And so called "fast" training, where the dogs "get the point" is rewarding for both trainer and trainee.

Where's the benefit in "slow" training and "no food" training? I'm not against change, if it is warranted, but there has to be a *point* to it.

OK, now I see the point - it's a marketing ploy to tap in to the huge amt of dollars spent on pets every year. There's no real point to it. Just an attempt to be the "next big thing" and make some money."

Not interested.

Edited by author Wed May 3, '06 7:14pm PST


There is no- better dog than- Nuka!
Barked: Thu May 4, '06 7:41pm PST 
I agree Neo...even if it isn't the popular idea here...I learned obedience training by not using treats...we started that way and I was taught early on that a dog trained by treats will always look for the treats, not the approval...and where in a pack does that happen??? Does alpha wolf come out and say ok everyone, whoever takes down dinner first tonight gets the big piece! ??? No way, and I'm not big on over dominance, and I'm not big on harsh corrections...I believe a good boy and a firm pat on the shoulder and a little praise will go much farther than a crumb anyday...and will definately connect you to your dog much faster. This way it is all about you and the dog....not the dog, the treat and you.... But again, I believe it is a personal decision, treats just make it easier to train....hmmmm.

Louie Balush
Barked: Wed May 3, '06 8:09pm PST 
I would caution you that advertising is not allowed here.
If you are truely here to chat with us than I would advise you to pull back a bit on the website you repeatedly mention.
If it comes up naturally that is a whole different situation.

I personally find your advise very concerning.
Regarding your response to the dog that bites you said "You need to take a few days off from time to time and try to forget about the problem behaviour..."
A dog that bites is a serious danger and there should never be "time off" regarding the safety of people. Or the dog. If it bites again is is further instilling a dangerous pattern.

You say you are 19. I hope you can appreciate that you are still young. If you are going to pursue animal training I would really hope that you continue to learn about the psychology of the animals you will be working with. If you advertise yourself as a trainer people will think you are knowledgeable. Giving them dangerous, undocumented advise will do nothing but further the problem.

Khola- CDX, CGC

R plus and- paitence what a- shocking idea
Barked: Wed May 3, '06 8:41pm PST 
I think that you really do believe what you're saying... but like others have said, you're young and more research will help you with things. We all learn through life and many of us have come from the harsher correction collars to treat training. We are all learning in life.
One thing that is well know is that dogs have drive. The work for their primary reinforcers no matter what. Those would be: food, water and shelter. Those things are things they need in life. Though a dog may live a very sad life, they can be solitary and not have love, so they don't need it (I would never not give a dog love! but they can survive without it.) That makes love a secondary reinforcer and not as reinforcing as a primary. Does that make sense? If it does not to you we can continue to speak about it.
Khola- CDX, CGC

R plus and- paitence what a- shocking idea
Barked: Wed May 3, '06 8:46pm PST 
add: in looking at the website, the site quotes Cesar Millian. Ceasr is BIG on domination and correction. Nothing like what this website says it is for.
I'm not here to down talk Cesar or anything, just that the website isn't very consistant in that mannor.
Lucky ~In- Loving- Memory~

What's going- on????
Barked: Wed May 3, '06 8:47pm PST 
Didn't look at the website. But what is WRONG with using treats? I found that using special treats that they only get during a training session makes them really look forward to it. I also gradually phase out treating frequently after they *get it* so I don't have to have treats on me all the time. I still treat them *sometimes* but not all the time. That way they don't ignore me because I don't have a treat. Some of my dogs are more trained than others, depends on how much effort I've put into them. I actually trained Little Man without using treats at all. He doesn't have much in obedience (sit down stay, etc) but he comes when he's called and stops at the door until I tell him to go out, which I think are the two most important anyways. I didn't use treats, but I didn't use anything remotely like force either, because he came to me badly abused. But he worships the ground I walk on, LOL. My puppy went to Petsmart for training classes and did absolutely exceptional and I'm highly impressed and happy with that method (treats and Gentle Leader). My two big dogs aren't trained much, and I have to walk them with the Gentle Leader so they don't hurt my shoulder again. I can do treats to train at home, but they ignore them away from home and I don't want to carry a can of Easy Cheese around with me.
Do what works, just dont' do force. And don't fool around with dogs that bite, before you get yourself hurt or killed. There's too many good (although untrained) dogs in this world to be fooling around with biters.

Please, more- FOOOD!!!
Barked: Thu May 4, '06 6:27am PST 
Hello Again:

Wow! I did not think that so many people would have something to say on this subject. Very Cool.

The reason I pointed out the puppywishes website is that there is a great deal on information there on this subject, pages in fact. And I wanted to use that information to support what I am saying here.
I did not want to spam or anything like that.

Also, I may be young, but I also work with a team of expert dog trainers that range from 25 to 55, they have been life long dog trainers, who have resurched dogs, training, breeding and behaviour for years. None of the trainers I work with use treats. Nor do they yell or punish the dogs in any way. NEVER! IT is not allowed. Still, they work wonders. So, I don't see what my age has to do with it. We all know that there are a great many established dog trainers (full grown adults) who see a problem with treat training.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG with using treats. But the end result of treat training is not the same as when treats are not used. In many ways, to treat or not to treat, has everything to do with what the owners end belife of what a dog is and is able to do.

Someone wrote, 'dogs cannot work for love', and that it is 'wishful thinking'. Oh dear, it sounds like you read the Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. I read it too, and that book made me sad. Because it reduced our domesticated dog to nothing more than lab rats.

If you do not BELIEVE that your dog can work for love, then YOUR dog will not work for love because you will not try to achive this wonderful goal. In this case, your belief system has everything to do with the end result of your training efforts.

Think about this. Most animals will work for food. But this does not mean that they are lerning to love or bond with their owners. A rat that is trained to do tricks is trained with the same methods you learn in a treat class. Do you really think that you get the best DOG TRAINING results when you use CHICKEN TRAINING methods?

In the end, if you could get your dog to work with LOVE as the key motivator. If you could change your views and give up FORCE & FOOD, why not try? The history of dog training has seen a great many changes. I have read a great deal and have talked with hundreds of trainers about this. Harsh methods changed to loving methods, loving methods changed to BF Skinner, BF Skinner changed to a clicker.... I feel very lucky. I have worked in classes that use force and hit. They were terrible. I have worked with trainers who use treats. They were fun and the dogs had a great time, but in the end, when push came to shove, these dogs did what they wanted. They could not be fully trusted in some situations. I now work with a no food no force training group and the results are great. We have fun, the dogs get smart, and people learn that LOVE can train a dog.

One last thing. I meet dog owners who come to school with a bag of treats. After their first class with us, when people learn to use "soft tounch", "understanding tones", and "consistant actions" they all same the same thing - "Why are more trainers not teaching this?"

Ok everyone - I gotta run. I hope that we can continue this topic with kindness and respect smile


I do not own the puppywishes website and I do not control what is published there. Someone had something to say about "Millan", a dog trainer who they do not agree with. I agree, in part. Although I think that Millan is moving in the right direction, he is too abrupt with the dogs. I think he has the same problem that food trainers have, he wants fast results. I do know that many of the puppywishes trainers like his way of thinking, and not so much the hands on methods he uses. For example; I know that we all hate the way he teaches dogs to heel. Way to army like for us. We work from a place of freedom ( when outside) and slowly give the dog time to move towards us on its own. Very cool stuff.

Justin Rotteveel
The Boy Who Dreams With Dogs

Please, more- FOOOD!!!
Barked: Thu May 4, '06 6:51am PST 
Dear Louie:

You wrote:

"I personally find your advise very concerning. Regarding your response to the dog that bites you said "You need to take a few days off from time to time and try to forget about the problem behaviour..." A dog that bites is a serious danger and there should never be "time off" regarding the safety of people. Or the dog. If it bites again is is further instilling a dangerous pattern. "

I think that you are wrong, or, perhaps you do not fully understand the deeper meaning in what I tried to say.

I have seen many dog owners give up and put their dogs to sleep. I have seen their tears and I have seen how crushed they become. In fact, my best friend, Terra, put her Pit-Bull to sleep last year as the result of its aggression. I can say, that there is not a day that goes by where she does not wish she had not put the dog down.

People are people. They are flesh and bone. And the NEED to take breaks from the problems that harm them. I started to work with dogs so that I could take a break from some of the problems in my family life. I needed time away from the day to day horror that I was living in. For this reason I have the deepest. Also, my dog was aggressive, and came to me because he was aggressive towards children. I was terrified that I would have to put Neo to death because he was aggresssive. Saving my dog, and preventing dog bites took up 99% of my life. The more stress I had, the weaker I became. I lost faith at one point and was going to give up. I was then told by a close friend, and life long trainer that I needed to take a break. I needed to take a few days off from my dog. THIS WAS THE BEST ADVICE THAT I WAS EVER GIVEN. It gave me the freedom to think about myself. And cherish my life as a person, not just a dog owner.

Often, dog owners become self abusive because they are too afraid to take a break. They beat up on themselves, push their hearts into the ground and spend far too much time in tears because their dogs have a problem. This kind of stress in unhealthy. And it will lead to the death of a dog as sure as I am writing these words.

So, when I say, take time off. I do not mean let your problem dog dart free in public streets. I may be young, but please give me credit. There are hundreds of ways that an owner can take a break from a problem pooch.

1) If you take your dog for long walks were the dog growls and tries to attack every dog it sees. Stop the walks for a few days. Let your dog have fun in the back yard.

2) If your dog growls at you over food. Hey! for the next few days just give the dog its food and let it alone.

3) If your dog is aggressive towards you. Call a good kennel and see if they can board your dog for a few days. Some kennel owners are VERY good at dealing with aggressive dogs.

Our training school has a program called "STOP & THINK". We work with vets in Ontario. This is how the program works. Before a vet will put a dog to sleep they place the dog in a "STOP & THINK" program. The owner must agree to this. This program takes the dog, no matter how aggressive, and puts it in a safe house. The dog lives their for thirty days. After that time the vet clinic calls the owner and askes them how they feel. Over 60% of dog owners want their dogs back! And I have seen people thank "God" that our program was around. All they needed was "a break".

I think it is dangerious when dog trainers keep dog owners working over time. My life experience has shown me that we all need time to close our eyes, put our problems aside, and just breath.

Justin Rotteveel

Please, more- FOOOD!!!
Barked: Thu May 4, '06 7:05am PST 

I must smile, a smile of horror to some degree.

Here we are talking about to treat or not to treat, and on other 'forums' people are talking about what is the best kind of 'prong-collar' to use. YIKES!

The nice think about this topic is that we are all so far in the green
that we need not worry about methods that are just way over the top. And if you have a choice, food or force, go with the food! Although it would be nice to avoid both.

Justin Rotteveel
Khola- CDX, CGC

R plus and- paitence what a- shocking idea
Barked: Thu May 4, '06 7:10am PST 
Well boy who dreams with dogs, I'm girl who walks with tigers and swims with dolphins. When working with 550lb preditors in water we use..... fish. We use fish and other secondaries like rubdowns and markers such as a tap on the water and a whistle. When you train the most serious of behaviors, ones that require you to be in the water with the animals (who, contrary to popular belief, aren't that nice) and behaviors that have to do with medical procedures (all marine mammals cannot be sedated because they can go into a sudden dive response and die.) These medical behaviors are reinforced with many fish and get voluntary blood draw, voluntary capture, voluntary scopes of different areas, etc.
My whole idea behind this is that I'm not going to "screw around" with the abilities of an animal that can kill me in a moment, so I wouldn't want to do that with an animal that is smaller than myself. I don't think you can get more reliable than an animal that lets you stick it with needles in its very sensitive tail and doesn't flinch.
I know that this is not a dog... but I'm brining the idea up in the animals because a dolphin or tiger or bear is large enough to do some damage and I believe that we tend to write some dog things off because they are smaller.
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