Training without treats???? Possible? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-16-2013, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Training without treats???? Possible?

I lived most of my adult life with weight issues and developed some very severe health issues due to it, including diabetes and very painful arthritis. In 2005 I chose to take control of my health by having gastric bypass surgery and successfully have lost half my weight and kept it off. While I was losing weight our previous dog was quickly gaining, he was a beggar and would eat anything and every thing I could not. I felt terrible that my lose contributed to his gain. After he was put to sleep due to cancer last year I swore if we ever got another dog that I would never allow my dogs to have any human food or calorie laden treats. My two 6 month old goldens have been eating Large Puppy Blue Buffalo food since birth and I have allowed them to eat carrots and apples. Nothing else. They are due to start a puppy training class very soon and I want to train them to listen without food treats. What is the alternative training method that can be used. Worst case scenario is using a little bit of their existing food, but I really don't even want to do that. I want my pets to be healthy and well adjusted and never have to live through the ordeal of carrying around extra weight. Suggestions please.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-16-2013, 04:47 PM
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Yes. A woman in our puppy class didn't want to use treats so she used praise. With Bentley I used them in the beginning but then they got less and less. Now he gets just praise.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-16-2013, 04:49 PM
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I was wondering this as well. Charlie is pretty food sensitive so we only use kibble for treats along with the occasional biscuit which is the same brand/ingredients as his food. I don't want to introduce anything new while training and mess his system up!

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-16-2013, 04:52 PM
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Also FYI, in class I sometimes used apples cut up in tiny bites, I put a lil lemon juice to keep their color. They worked great for treats. They still do. If I have a piece of apple, a raw carrot or a raw green bean in my hand Bentley would learn the cha-cha to get it
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-16-2013, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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We have trained them with the basic commands but they need help with walking on the leash, that is where things start to get hard because they are very strong and can pull my bf's mom right over, she only weighs 100lbs and these two dogs combined weight is over 80lbs and they still have a ways to go. I am glad to hear just praise can work, one of my dogs, Bailee, lives for praise, as soon as she sees anyone coming she has to run and go find something so she can show it to you and you can praise her for it, even if it is the candle off the mantle. lol

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-16-2013, 04:53 PM
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You could also use toys/play as a reward.


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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-16-2013, 06:23 PM
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I have been only training Brew with praise. I don't like using treats or distractions with training, I want his focus on me and my voice. I have had GREAT success with this method. I read that goldens love to please, that's why I chose this method, when I praise him for a good thing with enthusiasm in my voice and a good rub I can see how proud he is for a job well done!

I will bring out the treats when I'm wanting him to use his nose. I'll grab 3-4 bowls and hide some treats in one of the bowls and have them all turned upside down and scattered in different areas in the living room. When he finds the right one he gets self rewarded as well as praised! I have to say this is one of his favorite games! One of these day's when it warms up I'll take him to the school field and have him do some treat tracking in a huge area!
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-16-2013, 06:30 PM
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I use treats extensively, mostly sliced up hot dog chunks kept in my mouth. Sometimes i even spit them at her. She does not get one every time, but she tends to watch my face more since she knows that's where the treats are. She hardly ever watched my face when I kept them in my pocket.


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-16-2013, 06:36 PM
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Here's the thing, you don't have to use treats to train and in certain situations it can be better, but generally it will be easier training with treats, especially with a very food motivated dog like a golden


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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-16-2013, 08:59 PM
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Have you tried clicker training? You can also use a marker word like a loud and excited "yes!" when the dog does the right thing.

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