How To Train Your Dog Without Treats - PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

How To Train Your Dog Without Treats

by MetLife Pet Insurance
3 years ago

Training your dog usually means giving her a treat when she does something good or when she’s mastered something, right? For most positive reinforcement trainers and pet parents that is the case.

As we continue through January and National Train Your Dog month, we want to provide ways in which to reward your dog for a job well done without the potential of her becoming overweight or unhealthy.

Yes, there are low calorie dog treats and treats that are organic and are made of natural ingredients. Even a low calorie treat “adds up” if your dog is getting a lot of tiny nibbles during training sessions.

Keeping your dog healthy, means keeping him at a healthy weight and you can do that by offering dog-safe fruits and vegetables during training sessions or you can train your dog without treats.

Here’s how to train your dog without treats

  1. Praise! We’ll bet your dog loves to hear “good boy!” or “good girl!” when mastering a task. Telling your dog he or she is a “good dog!” and talking to him in a positive, enthusiastic voice will show him how pleased you are.
  2. Physical touch. Does your dog love a belly rub or a scratch behind the ears or under the chin? Use physical touch to reward your dog. If you’re training your dog to “sit” or “lie down” and he does it, pet him and give him a pet or a snuggle.
  3. A new toy. You certainly won’t buy a new toy for every trick or command your dog masters, but if he has one or two favorite toys, put them out of reach until a training session then give it to him and let him have a great time playing with it. He will have even more fun if you play with him and his favorite toy, too!
  4. A long walk in the woods, or a neighborhood sniff-fest. If your dog loves walks – and what dog doesn’t!? – reward her after a training session by taking a long walk in the woods. If you normally take your dog for a neighborhood walk at a brisk pace, give her a walk in which you let her sniff every blade of grass she sees!
  5. A car ride. If your dog is like most dogs, a ride in the car is an exciting treat! Weather permitting, and with your dog safely strapped into a dog safety harness, open the window and take a slow drive around the neighborhood letting her feel the wind on her face and take in the scents. Your dog will come to expect a car ride at the end of a training session and that is his “carrot on the end of the stick” to master the commands and tricks.

A dog who is at a healthy weight will live a longer, healthier life and will have fewer health issues like arthritis or even diabetes. When you bring a dog into your life, his life span is shorter than yours and because of that you want to do what you can to keep him in your life for as long as you can and training without treats just might be a great first step!

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

Robbi Hess is a full-time pet blogger and multi-published author. She shares her life with a diva Poodle, a goofy Goldendoodle, two Devon Rex, a senior ginger kitty and three reptiles!

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