Is it okay to use your dog's food as treats when training?

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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I'm a wild and- crazy gal!
Barked: Fri Oct 19, '12 9:05am PST 
When I am training Gracie and I don't have any treats to give her, is it okay to use her food? I've done it before, but I don't know if it's a good thing to do. At first, I wasn't comfortable with the idea, but I can't just not train her because she doesn't have any treats. Is it a good idea? Does anyone else use their dog's food when they're training him/her?
Scruffy (RIP)

In Loving Memory
Barked: Fri Oct 19, '12 11:09am PST 
Sure, why not? The dog gets to work for their meal. The only "issue" that could pop up is that some dogs see kibble as a lower value reward and might be less inclined to work for it, but if you have a food hound that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Edited by author Fri Oct 19, '12 11:11am PST

Maci & Harley & Jigar

Golden butts
Barked: Fri Oct 19, '12 2:47pm PST 
Yes it is fine. I regularly use the entire meal to practice with Harley as he is a food hood and does not care what he is getting.

Maci is spoiled though...she holds out because she knows there is something better in the house.

I would not use dog food at a training class or new highly distracting place though. You always need to bring out the high value treats then.

Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Fri Oct 19, '12 3:46pm PST 
Sure if she'll work for it . . ..way to go Sometimes it's good to mix it up between low and high value and if you measure out a meal, then you know your dog isn't going to get overfed for the day . . ..

I want to play!
Barked: Fri Oct 19, '12 3:48pm PST 
Saya and Bella will do tricks for kibble so I use that along with dog treats..

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Fri Oct 19, '12 7:07pm PST 
When I used to free feed, my dogs would work for the kibble in my hands while their (full) food dish was sitting 3 feet away. Of course it is OK to use their food for training. With the caveat that higher criteria often require higher level reinforcers.

I'm a wild and- crazy gal!
Barked: Sun Oct 21, '12 9:25pm PST 
Thanks everyone for your input! It really helped.

Barked: Mon Oct 22, '12 11:10am PST 
If you run out of treats you can also use praise or play if that works for your pup. big grin

I have found that praise and excitement works for Rolo when I have forgotten his treats for some silly reason. (Gets down on one knee, excitedly says "Come to mommy, Rollie," he slides into first base by me fast, "Good good, Rollie," belly rub!)

Depends completely on the dog. I have a dog who turns his nose down completely at kibble, gets too excited over high level treats, I must always use mid-level for new behaviors and praise for known behaviors such as tight heeling.thinking
Jocie Anna- Dorkus

Miss Spitfire
Barked: Fri Oct 26, '12 9:37pm PST 
I pesonally don't like giving treats when training. I use the same method used on police dogs. The only reward is lots of praise and petting. There oils be a lot less overweight dogs out there if people used this method. Lol. smile

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Fri Oct 26, '12 9:39pm PST 
Not all dogs value physical/vocal affection as rewards wink
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