WARNING for English Cream Golden Retriever Dog Owners: Are Dog Treats Just Bribery? People use treats when they train their dog, especially their English Cream Golden Retriever, to behave in a particular way or with a particular response. Some people think this is bribery and others think it is rewarding their behavior.
Are Dog Treats Just Bribery?
There is a difference between bribery and reward.
- Bribery occurs in the heat of the moment when you want your dog to behave a certain way and you “bribe” to get the correct behavior. It is a type of manipulation.
- A reward (treat) is a tool to reinforce appropriate behavior and a way for the dog to recognize “yes, that is what I am asking you to do.” It is what is received “after” he performs.
Your dog won’t need a treat for his entire life to perform good behavior or some wonderful little trick. Once he learns the command, the goal is to wean off the reward (treat) for verbal kudos “good boy,” pets, hugs, and the joy of pleasing you. It is only during the learning stages that food motivators are required.
- When using treats as a motivator it is best to keep the treat hidden in your hand or out of sight until the command is performed. You want your dog to focus on what is being asked of him, not what the reward is.
- When using treats as a reward remember to provide something healthy and use different types of treats depending on command. If there is something your dog doesn’t want to do, use a “high” reward item, such as turkey hot dogs cut into bite size pieces. Find your dog’s “favorite” treat and only use it when asking big commands or when there is hesitation on their part to do what is being asked of them.
Some dogs are lazy and don’t really care if they “perform” when asked, whether that is a behavior command or trick. Most dogs are food motivated though (some more than others) and treats work well with getting the desired outcome from training sessions with your dog.