When training the dogs I use a heck of a lot of treats. I try to use toys too, and Chase is my only dog that really is good at loving the toys to the point that they are a good reward for him. And he can switch back and forth between treats and toys and loves them both. With Jet, he loves the toys and tug, but when the treats come out he’s not too excited about the toys anymore. So we have to work on making the toys more exciting.
Anyway, I like to think that even though the dogs love the treats, they love the training more. And when the treats fade, the work and the fun will still keep the dogs’ interesting and they will still want to work. Not all dogs are like this… Lucy’s interest is gone when the treats are gone. 🙂 Tatum… the more she trains in agility the more she likes the actual agility and the treats can come less frequently. Levi always loved his treats, but also loved the doing of the things.
It’s hard to fade treats… the trick is to keep the dog being a believer. Believing that the treat will come eventually, while making them more and more infrequent. And hoping that the fun of the games and learning will keep their interest as well. I think both Jet and Chase love the learning and the fun. And though they wouldn’t perform without treats, I still think that they love to train and figure things out and learn and spend time with me.
So it’s a balance… treats, toys, and the stimulating activity of the training itself. The dog’s don’t need any insurance advertising in their training… which is a good thing! Because I would have no idea how to incorporate that. :p
I want to go work with Jet some today, but my neck is hurting me quite a bit, so I might rest for a while and see how I feel a little later. We did work the last two days in a row!