Treats don’t, of course, have to be the edible kind, but edible or not, treats are acknowledgements of something done well. They make us feel appreciated, energised and important (and yes, we’re more likely to repeat the ‘good behaviour’ in the future) while without them we’ll probably fall off the bandwagon sooner rather than later. Treating our dogs allows us to convey how pleased we are with them too. It’s amazing how a humble little treat can serve such a multitude of purposes in our relationship…
1. A way of showing our love
Gift-giving is different in every culture, but the bottom line is that it feels good to give. Gift-giving helps to strengthen our relationships and provides a tangible way to show our love and our interest in making those we care about happy. Giving our pet a treat follows the same principle – we want our dog to know we love them.
2. Acknowledges good behaviour…
Using treats to acknowledge good behaviour is effective in training because it means you can immediately reward the desired behaviour. Treats also help you keep your dog’s interest and motivation - almost all dogs will respond to food rewards because it’s an instinctive desire.
3. And promotes it in the future
Likewise, if a dog knows they have been treated for a certain behaviour in the past, they are more likely to have positive thoughts about that behaviour and repeat it.
4. Puts enjoyment into training
Depending on what we’re learning and what mood we’re in, learning isn’t always enjoyable. One way of making your dog’s training full of fun is to incorporate games and treats. A motivated pup is by far more easily-taught than a disinterested one!
5. Makes them feel happy
Dogs appreciate those who look after them, so if you’re the one who walks them, feeds them, plays with them and treats them, you’re the one who’s making them happy. And who doesn’t want to make their dog feel good?