THE GREAT TREAT DEBATE
Why Do We Use Them?
December 22, 2023
Many dog owners will question the use of food or treats as a tool, when talking about training their fur family members. The typical push-back stems from two points of view:
a. They don't want their dog to gain weight.
b. They feel the dog should do tasks only because they ask them to.
Dog treats are a popular training tool for several reasons. They can be highly effective in teaching new behaviors or reinforcing good ones for a few key points:
Motivation: Treats are a powerful motivator for dogs. They're tasty and provide immediate gratification, making them an excellent tool for encouraging desired behaviors.
Positive Reinforcement: Treats serve as positive reinforcement, strengthening the connection between the desired behavior and a pleasant outcome (getting a treat). This makes dogs more likely to repeat the behavior.
Quick Rewards: Treats offer an immediate reward, which is essential in training as it helps dogs quickly associate their action with the reward, reinforcing the desired behavior.
Focus and Attention: Using treats helps keep a dog's attention focused on the task at hand during training sessions. It helps maintain engagement and enthusiasm.
Versatility: Treats come in various flavors, sizes, and textures, catering to different preferences and dietary needs of dogs. This variety can be beneficial in training sessions.
Positive Association: Associating training sessions with treats can create a positive association for your dog. This makes training more enjoyable for them, fostering a stronger bond between you and your pet.
However, it's essential to use treats thoughtfully. Consider the nutritional value of the treats and adjust the portion sizes in line with your dog's diet to prevent overfeeding. Also, gradually reduce the frequency of treat rewards as your dog becomes more proficient in the desired behavior to avoid dependency on treats for obedience.
WHY PUPPIES CHEW EVERYTHING
And what you can do about it
December 10, 2023
Puppies explore the world through their mouths, and that means they'll often chew on everything within reach. It's a natural behavior driven by curiosity, teething discomfort, and the need to learn about their surroundings. Their exploration includes tasting and feeling various objects, which can lead to them chewing on things like furniture, shoes, or household items.
To manage this behavior:
Provide appropriate chew toys: Offer a variety of chew toys designed for puppies. Durable toys, chew bones, and rubber toys specifically made for teething can redirect their chewing behavior to acceptable items.
Puppy-proof your home: Keep items you don't want chewed out of reach. Consider using baby gates or crates to limit their access to certain areas until they learn what is and isn't appropriate to chew.
Supervise and redirect: Keep an eye on your puppy and redirect their attention when you catch them chewing on something they shouldn't. Offer a toy as an alternative and praise them when they chew on it instead.
Positive reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement techniques like praise, treats, or toys when your puppy chews on appropriate items. This helps them understand what behavior is desirable.
Exercise and stimulation: Ensure your puppy gets enough physical exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom, which can lead to increased chewing.
Remember, patience is key when dealing with a chewing puppy. Consistency in training and providing appropriate outlets for their chewing instincts will help teach them what's acceptable to chew on and what's off-limits.