Using a toy instead of treats. do you think I should?

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Fran101, May 11, 2009.

  1. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    Kenya loves food obviously, and everyone in the training class usues treats. I began using treats because kenya in the beginning was very skinny and was ONLY motivated by food, but since shes gotten better her drive for toys has really gone nuts and she has a red Cuz THATS SHES OBSESSED WITH and ive been using it and it seems like she likes it and performs for it just as well as with treats

    [​IMG]

    everyone in the class uses treats, do you think I should bring her toy?
    are their any downsides to using toys?
    Should I switch back and forth between toys/treats?
     
  2. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    If toys are rewarding for your dog, then use them! Drug dogs and SAR dogs use toy rewards, as it keeps their waistlines under control. ;)

    ETA: Willow, the SAR gsd my friend handles is obsessed with her bad cuz. It's been her training reward for a while. She will do anything to get 30 seconds with it.
     
  3. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    Toys can make great rewards!!

    A few things to consider -

    For some dogs, toys are higher value than treats and a bigger distraction. This can be useful at times, but it depends on the level of training and the goals.

    Toys can be a bit harder to carry and hide.

    In a group class situation, a toy might cause too much disturbance for the other dogs - again, that depends on the level.

    Toys will interrupt the training, where as a treat can be swallowed on the fly.

    I love using toys, but not always. I really like to switch up the rewards so the dog doesn't expect a specific reward and also to avoid satiation (not that that's a risk with my crew).
     
  4. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Absolutely use it, but make sure you train her to never take it until asked to and to always release the second she is asked to. Very, very important.

    If you are considering competing, be careful because at the last trial I was at, one exhibitor got in trouble (as she should have) for excessively rewarding her dog after her run with a Cuz, just outside of the exit. It was so bad the dog on the line couldn't run because it was so distracted.
    Yes, we are suppost to have our dogs proofed against those kinds of distractions but the dog on the line was a novice dog........
     
  5. Boxer100

    Boxer100 New Member

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    Our boxer Mark has an orange Bad Cuz and it is his favorite toy. If toys work, they are better than treats since treats will only make your dog obese.
     
  6. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Only if you are stupid. :D Many many slim and svelte dogs are trained with food. You just make sure you feed less at meal time. Its over all intake that is greater than needed that causes a dog to gain weight.
     
  7. Hillside

    Hillside Original Twin

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    Saga is generally trained with treats and most people we see out and about think she is borderline emaciated ( fortunately her vet does not agree with that sentiment). I have just recently found a toy that will motivate her in class, with my instructor's help. We switch between food and toy rewards.

    On a sidenote, I have found the best place to hide a toy while in class is in the hood of a hooded sweatshirt. :D
     
  8. MafiaPrincess

    MafiaPrincess Obvious trollsare Obvious

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    I get told all the time when shaved down that I am cruel as I obviously don't feed my dogs.. Both enjoy toys, but I train with treats more than toys. I like both though.
     
  9. Boxer100

    Boxer100 New Member

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    That would not work with our dog, he would jump on your head to get it out. :D
     
  10. Boxer100

    Boxer100 New Member

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    We give our dog treats, but in moderation. If every time you train your dog you give treats, there is a greater chance he/she will get obese. Again, it depends what you use as a treat. Most major brand treats sold at pet stores are not very healthy.
     
  11. MericoX

    MericoX Roos, Poos, & a Wog!

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    I wonder how many treats you'd be giving to consider treating your dog will make them become obese....
     
  12. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    First off I don't feed anything that is 'major' brands. I often make my own treats. I like Roll Over chubs (I can cut up very small pieces), Zukes mini naturals, or dehydrated duck.

    No greater chance. THis dog below eats very little. When she was on kibble for a short while she would get 3 table spoons of food a day. Does she look fat to you?

    [​IMG]

    She is primarily treat trained and we compete and train for lots of different dog sports. All you do is subtract the amount of food from a meal that you used in treats that day. (its simple) And you will find if you do a LOT of training you can put kibble in with the treats (in a zip lock bag) and the kibble will take on the smell and flavour of the higher value treats. Then you can actually train with meals.

    These are things that people who actually train dogs for a living or train regularly to compete already know.
     
  13. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    That dog Dekka, looks morbidly obese. You should not use treats for training. Didn't anyone ever tell you that? I can tell too, that she won't do a thing for you unless she gets treats. :D

    All kidding aside, yeah...it's all about calorie input in relation to calorie expenditure, not whether you use treats for training or not.

    I make my own treats too and one of the things I make is made out of almost all vegetables (yams, pumpkin, berries... among other ingredients) and just an egg to hold things together and some flour. My dogs love berries, so the raspberries from my own vines can be used or blueberries. I don't need to cut back on their food with that kind of thing, at least not much. When we catch fish in the lake, I can make treats from trout. They love fish too and there's nothing very fatty about trout. Sometimes they get liver treats. Those are higher in fat, but they are cut into incredibly tiny pieces as treats only need to be a token taste and their meals then, are cut back a tad. Another favorite when I don't have any home made treats is Honey Nut Cheerios...again, not very fattening and oh so yummy.

    But yeah, mixing up the type of reward you use is always a good idea. And it depends too, on what you're working on as far as which type of reward makes the most sense.
     
  14. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    I make my own training treats too. Chickpea flour, liver and kidneys and one egg. I liquidise and bake on a baking sheet. No wheat, no gluten and easy to use. But then again, at just under 5lbs, Ben is HORRIBLY obese! LOL!

    Now for the toy question. Some of my homework for this week for you Fran.

    Although many dogs work very happily for food, you do get an undeniable extra burst of speed and enthusiasm when your dog is interested in a toy, and that will be important in your agility career. If you have a dog who doesn't play easily even after the tips below, do contact us so that we can give some help. Teaching your dog to play may take a while (eg weeks or months), so be patient. Tips I would give...

    1. When you want to start a play game with your dog, pick your time wisely, when they are very excited. I taught my dog to tug by carrying something with me when I first entered the kitchen in the morning (their sleeping area) when I knew she'd be excited. I'd do the same thing before evening chow time.
    2. Act crazy. You need to let go of a few inhibitions and really let loose. Make growling noises, get physical with them (unless they are the nervy sort) and give them a good scratching and fur ruffling back and forth quickly up and down their body, run around the garden dangling a toy for them to chase.
    3. Find a good toy. Many dogs like squeaky toys, particularly if you follow rule no 2 and act crazy with them. My dogs like to tug on a bit of sheepskin tied to a lead or rope - the "real" material is very enticing. Drag the toy along the ground and run with it.
    4. Keep the sessions short. I'm talking 30 seconds short if you are just teaching your dog to play. You always want to end the game before they do.
     
  15. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I train my fat dog with treats. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    :rofl1::rofl1::rofl1:
     
  17. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    I'm not sure that'd work for the OP, whose profile states that she lives in South Florida. :p

    Ares was trained for treats and only treats. He has no interest in toys. He got lots of treats in training, too. It was a struggle to keep weight on him.
     
  18. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    And if you use treats or another high value reward (your dog's viewpoint) every time you train your dog when he's first learning a new behavior, there is a significantly higher chance that he'll learn the new behavior.

    (an exerpt from the book I'm writing)
    "Most all professional dog trainers use some type of schedule of reinforcement for rewards. Rewards are delivered on a continuous, variable, or fixed ratio of reward to behavior. A continuous schedule means that each time the dog is cued to sit and sits, he is rewarded. A variable schedule means that the dog’s reward for sitting varies from one instance to the next (this is not a totally random delivery of reinforcement because there will be a certain average number of sits required, much like a slot machine works on an average number of pay outs). A fixed schedule means that for instance, the dog is rewarded for every third sit. Reward schedules can also be based on response within a certain timeframe. All of these effect how well your dog will respond to your command, how quickly and how often.â€


    So, in other words, there's a specific method to the delivery of rewards.

    And I don't see very many treat-trained show dogs that are competing in various venues...that are obese.
     
  19. I have used food in training probably since about the time you were born. I don't have fat dogs. I have never had fat dogs. Treats can do MUCH more than make a dog obese. Treats only make a dog obese if the dog is being fed too much and exercised too little.

    Good trainers make use of a variety resources and reinforcers available to them, since different things can often work better for different dogs.

    FRANCHESKA, I would say use BOTH! :D
     
  20. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    at home i use steve's ball A LOT for training. in class it's harder because i don't want him to be a distraction to other dogs. tugs are better than balls for class for steve, but mostly i use food there. i use the toy for something i want to enforce really really strongly.

    i use an obscene amount of food when i train my dogs, especially with the control unleashed stuff lately. i'll go through a full plastic sandwich bag per hour class and sometimes run dry. right now i'm using mostly natural balance roll cut up into tiny pieces, and string cheese. i actually don't decrease steve's meals on class days because he's so freaking skinny anyway, but i decrease both breakfast and dinner for the bullies because they don't need all the extra calories.
     

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