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Discussion Starter #1
I know.........I'm just full of questions!
I think we're overtreating Bogie. Every time he does something good like sit, stay, shake, come..........he gets a treat. Tonight he barfed in his crate. It's either the treats or the meds for the giardia.
What do you guys do? I'm thinking maybe he doesn't need a treat every single time..........It's becoming like an extra meal.
Also, what do you use for treats?
My Springer loved zucchini's.........lol..........he wouldn't even eat a dog biscuit.
We also started using a clicker. It's becoming a riot. He does something good and it's treat, click, praise..........We walk in the yard armed. We even have a can with coins in it for when he starts eating the bushes.
I think we're doing to much. I don't recall ever being this obsessed with other dogs I owned. I even trained my Bouvier with the police department and I wasn't doing this much.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. I think hubby is reading too many books!
 

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I use liver treats and schmakos. However, I had the same concern so I've been using Sam's daily ration of doggy biscuits as treats.
 

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In books like "My Smart Puppy" by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson, they recommend using part of the dog's daily meals as treats. In other words, keep some kibble in your pocket and offer it when the dog has performed for you. That way you're not overfeeding and you know it's healthy. That said, Chouette isn't that wild about her food, which is the Canidae chicken mix. So I use other things. But you could vary it.

I had to look carefully to find treats that didn't have corn or other objectionable ingredients. Petsmart had some dried chicken chips that work well. I ordered some protein snacks from KV Pet, too. If the treats are soft enough you can also break them into smaller pieces; after all, it's the idea and not the quantity that sends the message.

Leslie
 

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Most of the time, instead of treats, Nicky gets praise and a hug or pat when he does what I ask him to do. I say "Good come!" or "Good sit!" or "Good find!", etc. He doesn't expect to get a treat.

I think of dog treats as being similar to cookies for me. I love cookies, but they aren't really good for my waistline! Therefore, I limit consumption.
 
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Our trainer at Petsmart said that once the dog "knows" the command you can start not giving treats all the time. She said to phase treats out slowly and replace with petting and verbal praise. Also don't have a pattern to giving treats for praise ie don't treat every other time or make things predictable. The dog will pick up on that and only preform every other time.
 

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Emily seldom gets treats. She gets lots and lots or praise and seems to work real well. I was afraid of overdoing and adding lots of calories to her diet. I do give her carrots (she loves it) and merrick bones to chew on
 

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When Henry was small and we were doing lots of training we did like River Rat and carried his kibble in our pockets.

We also bought Zuke's Mini Natural treats. These are pretty firm and you can cut them in half or even in quarters. Henry is pretty food driven so it really helped giving him treats for training but now at 7 months we hardly ever have to reward him with treats - praise is enough.

Luckily there are a lot of companies making healthy treats so there are a lot of options.

Good luck, it sounds like you guys are doing great.

P.S. I really like the trivia game you set up. :lol:
 

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hmz819 said:
Our trainer at Petsmart said that once the dog "knows" the command you can start not giving treats all the time. She said to phase treats out slowly and replace with petting and verbal praise. Also don't have a pattern to giving treats for praise ie don't treat every other time or make things predictable. The dog will pick up on that and only preform every other time.
Our trainer said the same thing so we did phase out treats. But I use them for teaching something new, and also to reinforce, sometimes. She is still not perfect at coming inside when called, but giving her a treat when she gets through the door has made a huge difference in her recalls, both coming in and when we're on walks. I don't do it every time outside, or even every other, but it does keep her paying attention to me, and I figure that until it becomes automatic it's a good aid. At almost 8 months she's in an independent stage, so anything that helps is good.

Our trainer liked to use bits of cheese, by the way. I bought string cheese, for Chouette and my granddaughter, and kept a stick in my pocket, tearing bits off to reward her (the dog, not the kid.) Chouette gets very focused on food, though, so we eliminate it when she's paying too much attention to the reward and not enough to the task.

The last time Chouette was groomed I noticed she's a bit thick around the waist, so we've been limiting access to goodies. She's so much smaller than our Danes that it's hard for me to judge when I'm overindulging, though. My dogs always like to hang around while I'm cutting up meat because they get treats! And today we're going to be packaging a deer, so there will be lots of temptations to slip her tidbits!

Leslie
 

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We used really small treats during the early puppy days. Usually it was just pieces of his kibble. He liked it so much it worked fine. You might be at this stage.

Eventually, Charlie would only get a treat when he finished his exercise. It may be a combination of sit, down, stay, stand. I would keep the treat in my hand until done and then give it to him after an "OK" that signaled we were done.

Deb
 

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I give kibble as treats, or I break up duck and potato biscuits - i can't remember the brand name. But they're small biscuits, and I break them into three pieces too. She's only 5 months, so I'm still using treats a lot for housebreaking and training. But I agree that once a dog is well trained, the treats should be more sporadic, along with plenty of praise.

Leslie, our vet said that she always likes to see their dogs just a little bit hungry, in other words, better underfed than overfed. I do feed Pixie a bit more than the vet recommended, but I also check her ribs every day to make sure there's not too much padding there. I think it's better to keep them just hungry enough so that they really want those treats! If I weren't treating her so much, I'd be giving her a little more at meals.
 

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Yes, we always kept our Danes very lean; people thought they were too thin, but they were actually just right for Danes. That's why we were suprised to see how chunky Chouette was under all that fur - especially since she rarely finishes her meals. But I'm sure it's the treats that do it, and I have to adjust to the amount of treats I should be giving to a much smaller dog! She's about half the size of our Danes.

Leslie
 

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Bailey is very skinny to me also. When I asked the vet she said he is perfect and that we are just too used to seeing chubby dogs. She wants to keep him the way he is so I will try.

During puppy school we used treats for training. Even though I wouldn't feed Bailey 3 hours prior to school his small tummy would fill up on the treats really fast and he isn't super food motivated to start with so it was tough. I used Rollover just crumbled up. I don't use it often but during puppy school it was the only thing that worked. At home I use bites of carrots and apples which he loves.

Now that Bailey has caught onto things, I use treats less frequently. When I let him outside to potty he still gets a treat, but I never have treats when we are out walking - just praise for pottying and coming when called.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks everyone! I've been reading these responses to my husband and intend to incorporate this into our training.
This forum is SO helpful!
 

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My dog was so excited by the treats that he was eager to do anything you wanted!!! I used very small pieces and after the first few times of showing him what I wanted him to do I'd cut back. He'd only get a treat every other time, every third time, etc until we had phased them out. So now he just gets them occaisionally.
 

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Denver was treat trained from day one.
Seriously he got a treat(small pieces of chicken or healthy commercial holistic food) everytime he did anything correctly when he was a puppy.
If he peed outside, he got a piece of chicken everytime.
He was always on the skinny side so there were no problems
with too much. Now at 18 months he only gets a few treats (stuffed kong when we go to work. chicken pieces when learning something new )
but mostly he listens without food treats because but he is now ball /toy focussed and he will do anything to play ball.

So that is our current reward.
 

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in the beginning i start out Treat training my doodles and like SUE
i use tiny pieces of chicken mostly, sometimes steak or cheese working to a 50/50 shot if they get a treat.

As they approach 6mos i then do not train with treats
but rather just Praise and lots of hugs.

NOW many trainers here cooked liver , chicken , hot dogs etc

MAX and PEANUT have been given special baked doggy cookies/treats at 2 mom/pop specialty stores i shop at and hahahhaha
they spit it out on the floor and won't touch it hahahhaaa!!
go figure.
 

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Annabelle gets diff kinds of treats now - she has 2 mint treats a day, have mint and parsley and her breath isnt as bad, She gets one or two Iams biscuits a day and then we use small carrot flavored treats about the size of a dime if she wants a cookie, so far she isnt overweight so I'm not worried - don't think she gets too much. Weighed her today at petsmart - 60 pounds of pure sweetness
 

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The carrot flavored treat reminded me that Charlie really likes fruits and vegetables. If you are worried about weight or grains, then baby carrots and apple pieces are good alternatives.

Deb
 

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Deb, we finally got Annabelle to eat carrots when her cousins spent 2 weeks with us this summer, Macy & Emma love carrots - the first few days AB would spit it out and Macy woudl grab it, eventually she figured out these things must be good if both M&E are eating them and she's eaten them since. Our labs were all veggie/fruit lovers.

I dont mind giving her the little carrot treats/ also in apple and blueberry flavors as they are small - "Natural Choice, Crunchy treats" they come in small bags.

As for puppy training the make little treat about the size of pencil erasers - you can get them at pets mart also
 

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Tanner was clicker trained in the beginning using Zukes mini salmon or chicken treats and I still use them.

I like the Dick Van Patten turkey roll. I can cut a slice off and just give Tanner very small bits when we are hiking or when we training him. For stuffing the kongs, I use pieces of the turkey roll and string cheese.

His very favorite is Charlie Bears and I kept a treat bag of these hung high next to the door to as a reward when he went potty.

He is not a big eater and is quite thin, so I also use his kibble as treats when I brush him or go for our walks.
 
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